This mix of raw, blanched and lightly pickled vegetables adds variety and texture to the traditional Piedmontese "warm bath", the bagna cauda.
10 baby carrots, peeled, stalks trimmed and cleaned
1 cup radishes, halved
6 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
a handful of green beans, tails removed
2 cups cauliflower florets
6 kipfler potatoes, scrubbed
1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes
1 cup mixed baby capsicums, halved
1 head radicchio, leaves separated
1 cup white wine vinegar
¼ tbsp sugar
salt, for rubbing vegetables
12 garlic cloves
10 anchovy fillets
100ml extra virgin olive oil
150g unsalted butter
1. Make the pickling liquid by mixing together the vinegar and sugar with 2 cups of cold water, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. Take the carrots and radishes and rub them all over with plenty of salt until softened. Allow to drain in a colander for 15 minutes, then rinse under cold running water. Transfer to the cold pickling liquid and refrigerate for at least one hour. Strain before serving.
3. Blanche the asparagus, green beans and cauliflower quickly in plenty of boiling water until barely cooked, and still very crunchy and slightly raw in flavour. This will only take about 30 seconds for the asparagus and beans, and about one minute for the cauliflower. Refresh the blanched vegetables in iced water and drain well.
4. Cover the kipfler potatoes with cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes until barely tender (test with a sharp knife) and allow to cool to room temperature in the water. Drain and halve to serve.
To make the bagna cauda
5. Simmer the garlic in the milk, covered for about 10 minutes until very soft (watch that it doesn't boil over). Top up the milk to keep the garlic covered if necessary.
6. Add the anchovies and simmer for a further three minutes. Puree the garlic and anchovies with a stick blender, adding the olive oil and butter a little at a time to create a creamy sauce.
7. Transfer sauce to a bagna cauda pot or warmed bowl (a bagna cauda pot is a clay bowl suspended over a candle to keep the bagna cauda warm, but a well-warmed bowl is a perfectly fine replacement).
Serve with the blanched, raw and pickled vegetables for dipping.