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Rosie Birkett’s Bagna Cauda (with cannellini beans!)

Author Izy


  • 10 cloves of garlic , , peeled
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) milk
  • 6 good-quality anchovies , , jarred in oil, chopped
  • 25 g (1 oz/ 2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 a , (400g / 14 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche or double cream
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme , , leaves picked
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • black pepper
  • crudites , (e.g. endive, carrots, celery, radishes, bell pepper, gem lettuce leaves)


  • Place the garlic cloves in a saucepan and cover with 100ml (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) of the milk. Leave to soak for 1 hour, drain and discard the milk. Place the garlic back in the saucepan with the rest of the milk and 1 tbsp of water. Gently cook, partly covered with a lid, over a low heat for 20 minutes until the garlic is super tender.
  • Add the chopped anchovies to the pan and cook, stirring until they have broken down. Add the butter and stir until melted. Pour this into a blender along with the drained beans, creme fraiche/cream, vinegar, olive oil and thyme leaves. Blitz until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add lemon juice and black pepper, to taste.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with the prepared crudites. The dip will keep for a couple of days covered in the fridge. You can warm it back up for dipping or use it to dress pasta.