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Bell peppers with bagna cauda

Peppers with bagna cauda represent a classic of Piedmontese cuisine. The pepper is one of the most popular vegetables in Piedmont, also grown in all private gardens with great success, and used in countless recipes. In particular, the combination of peppers and salted anchovies is an example of the harmonious fusion of Ligurian and Piedmontese specialties, and of the wise use of a marine ingredient, even by those who are not near the sea!

Those peppers with bagna cauda are a perfect recipe for a winter appetizer, a must in my family's Christmas lunches. It is also a dish not too rich in calories, though reserved for those who like garlic. Once prepared and placed in suitable containers, it can be kept well in the refrigerator for a few days and reheated at your convenience.

Note that the ideal is to soak the garlic in milk the previous night or at least a few hours before, so the preparation must be planned in advance.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 4 large, fleshy peppers (2 red and 2 yellow)
  • 16 anchovies (traditionally Ligurian anchovies preserved in salt are used)
  • 6-7 large cloves of garlic, according to the taste of the guests
  • Milk (there are those who prepare the bagna cauda with butter, I prefer milk in accordance with family tradition)
  • Olive oil, about 200 ml

Preparation of garlic, peppers and anchovies

All those preparations can be made one day in advance.

Preparation of the garlic: peel and remove the core from the garlic cloves and soak them in milk the night before or at least 4-5 hours before preparing the bagna cauda.

Peel the peppers: by roasting them over the gas flame, or by cooking them in a hot oven at 220 ° for 25-30 minutes, turning them often, until the skin tends to peel off. Put the peppers in a plastic food bag while still hot, this will help to peel off the skin.

Slice the peppers into regular bands.

Fillet the anchovies: while the peppers are in the oven, remove the bones from the anchovies and rinse them very thoroughly several times to remove all the salt. Dry them with kitchen paper.

Preparation of the bagna cauda sauce

Remove the garlic from the milk and chop it very finely, possibly in a blender. Put the garlic in new milk in a saucepan over very low heat, letting it slowly come apart without browning.

Finally, add the oil and anchovies. Simmer over low heat for about 10-20 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon so that the ingredients blend well. Never let the oil boil, otherwise the anchovies can become bitter.

Spread the bagna cauda on the peppers: spread each strip of pepper (in the central part) with the sauce.

Oven finish

Finish in the oven: the aim is to dry everything a little and make the edges of the peppers more crunchy. Therefore this must be done with the grill for about 5 minutes, but always keeping an eye on everything so that it doesn't burn.

Serve the peppers with bagna cauda always warm, as an appetizer or a side dish for roast white meat.