Bagna Cauda with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

bagna cauda with sun-dried tomatoes - www.afarmgirlsdabbles.comSometimes I can’t believe it myself. But lately, when perusing restaurant menus, I’ve been drawn to dishes that include anchovies. And I’ve been ordering them, and no longer asking the waiter to “hold the anchovies, please”. What in the world has come over me?! I’m not supposed to like these. This is not the life I had planned!

This new-to-me craving all started when I visited Oregon for the first time last fall, as a guest of Harry and David. I blame Aggie, my beautiful Italian friend who sat next to me at lunch the day I took my first intentional bite of an anchovy. I ordered the salad not for the anchovies, but for its beautiful menu description, and told myself that I’d just scoot the anchovies to the side. But then, seeing Aggie eating those salty little fishies so nonchalantly, obviously enjoying them…well, I was convinced to take a tiny bite of one with my salad, too. But not before saying a little prayer that I wouldn’t gag on it and embarrass myself at that table full of foodies. I’m sure she had no idea the turmoil going on inside my head as I slowly dissected that first little fillet, confused as I felt myself falling for something I had always told myself was off-limits. 

But those anchovies ended up charming me, and the whole experience turned out swimmingly. The gorgeous southern Oregon setting, a long table of friends old and new, with a glass of bubbly and a salad I’ll never forget…it’s the stuff great food memories are made of.

Of course, a little bit of that experience had to make its way back home with me. That lunch in the Pacific Northwest led to new items in our pantry at home in the Midwest. Yes, you can now find little cans of anchovies for the first time in our kitchen!

Bagna Cauda (pronounced BAHN-yah KOW-dah) is from the Italian phrase meaning “hot bath”. It is a warm sauce made from anchovies, olive oil, butter, and garlic, and served with raw veggies and bread for dipping. This Bagna Cauda with Sun-Dried Tomatoes is especially lovely, as I find sun-dried tomatoes completely irresistible. Just as I now do anchovies.

How about you? 
Do you like anchovies?
Please share with me your favorite way to eat them!

Bagna Cauda with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Yield: almost 2 cups of sauce


  • 1-1/2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. minced fresh onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 2-oz. can anchovy fillets, finely chopped (start with less if you're unsure about how much you like anchovies)
  • 1/3 c. julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), finely chopped
  • 2 T. capers, finely chopped
  • 1 c. low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped green onions
  • 1 T. white wine vinegar


Heat 1 tablespoon oil and the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add anchovies and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add sun-dried tomatoes and capers, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, mustard, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil, and remove from heat. Add green onions and vinegar. Serve warm, with raw vegetables and bread for dipping. A fondue pot works great for this.


Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, September 2001.

bagna cauda with sun-dried tomatoes -



31 Responses to “Bagna Cauda with Sun-Dried Tomatoes”

  1. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — January 18, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I’m still at the stage you were before — haven’t worked up the nerve to try them, lol. But I think I could eat them in this!

  2. #
    Aggie — January 18, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Oh Brenda, this has brought a huge smile to my face!!! I am so proud of you for trying them, and so happy you are now a fan! It makes me feel less weird, lol, growing up liking anchovies was definitely not “cool” lol (well outside of my family ;) )

    This sounds and looks heavenly. Would be so nice to enjoy some of it over a glass of vino with you! :)

    • Brenda replied on January 18th, 2013 at 8:58 am

      Well I completely have you to thank for opening up my eyes – and my taste buds. I can longer let a caesar salad with whole fillets pass me by! Thank you, my dear friend! xo

  3. #
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — January 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Brenda, Aggie has mystical persuasive powers doesn’t she? ;) This looks like a new favorite to me.

    • Brenda replied on January 18th, 2013 at 8:57 am

      You’re right, Sommer. Aggie is some kind of magic – love that girl!!

  4. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — January 18, 2013 at 10:06 am

    I have to confess that I’ve never tried anchovies, but this dip looks like a great place to start! Love the sun-dried tomatoes!

  5. #
    Heather @ Heather's Dish — January 18, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I want so badly to try anchovies but can’t bring myself to do it – I’m going to just dive in though. It has to happen!

    • Brenda replied on January 18th, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      Yes, just do it! ;)

  6. #
    Rachel — January 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    We love anchovies and always keep a tube of paste in the fridge. We also love this dip! Thanks for sharing.

  7. #
    Lisa — January 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try anchovies but never knew what to eat them with. This looks like a good recipe with which to start. Thanks

  8. #
    Sandy @ RE — January 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    True confessions: I really don’t like them. BUT, this sounds fantastic.

    And any inspiration from Aggie is always the best. She is so inspiring!

    Great post, my friend! (And YAY for Oregon!)

    • Brenda replied on January 18th, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Aggie was on my right. And YOU were on my left. Wish we could repeat that scenario real soon! xo

  9. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — January 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Sometimes all it takes it that first bite ; )

  10. #
    Cassie — January 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    I love this post, Brenda! I’m pretty sure I’d be doing the same thing the first time I took a bite of an anchovie…I love the flavor but have never actually eaten one. This sounds so good!

  11. #
    Paula — January 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I always request *hold the anchovies please*. Maybe if I had some of this bagna-cuda I’d stop asking that :)

  12. #
    Angie — January 19, 2013 at 6:35 am

    I love anchovies too, they’re amazing and so is your recipe!

  13. #
    Bree {Skinny Mommy} — January 19, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I love anchovies! They add that perfect umami flavor that nothing else can beat. I think lots of people love them and don’t realize it! This dip looks fabulous–all around!

    • Brenda replied on January 21st, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks, Bree! And I think you’re exactly right, that people love them and don’t even know it! ;)

  14. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — January 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

    When I was developing some sauce recipes, I experimented with anchovie paste but I was never crazy about it. I would like to try them again, maybe with someone else doing the cooking! This looks fabulous and I do love sun dried tomatoes!

  15. #
    Laura — January 21, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Yum, almost reminiscent of a putanesca sauce. Love it!

    • Brenda replied on January 21st, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks, Laura – so nice to hear from you!

  16. #
    Amanda — January 21, 2013 at 9:12 am

    You are brave! While I love the flavor that anchovies give, I dont know if I could actually eat one. Yes, I am totally weird. Beautiful recipe girl!

    • Brenda replied on January 21st, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      You are not weird, Amanda. Anchovies are a reach for most people (myself included), I readily admit. But I’m having fun with them now!! If you get the chance to have a really good caesar salad with a couple whole fillets, just give it a try. You just might like. ;)

  17. #
    Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife — January 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Anchovies add flavor like nothing else, love this dish!

    • Brenda replied on January 21st, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      They really do. You can bet I’ll keep experimenting with them! So nice to hear from you again, Erika.

  18. #
    Amanda — January 24, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Wow Brenda this looks so fabulous!

  19. #
    folksmith — January 24, 2013 at 10:08 am

    my family has been eating Bagna Cauda for years. we learned to make Bagna Cauda while we lived in Idaho. I never thought i would like anchovies but, OMG, they are wonderful in this dipping sauce. Our daughters, who are now 19 and 24, love this stuff. while they are home from college we make it as a meal with a salad. i will have to try your recipe soon. Thanks!

    • Brenda replied on January 24th, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Nice to hear from you – I hope your family likes this version, too!


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