Summer is here, and I can't remember the last day I wanted to spend time outside. Spending time in a hot kitchen has been low on the list of things I'd like to do, too. So lately I'm trying to get to the greenmarket before it gets too hot out, and all the produce I'm picking up is getting minimal treatment. And I'm refusing to turn on the oven. Vegetables are mostly being treated to quick sautés, or turned into shaved salads. I'm also trying to make the most of a pot of boiling water -- blanching French green beans, fava beans, cranberry beans, and fresh chickpeas before I boil new potatoes. That way all those things sit in my fridge, ready to be added to whatever I want.
Since I've been so lazy about cooking, bagna cauda has been coming in more than handy. It's one of my favorite things to eat, and it really couldn't be easier. Most importantly, it means the only work I need to do is prep some vegetables to dip into it.
On one of the last spring days, when asparagus was still at the market, my friend Laura and I made this simple feast out of greenmarket goods: ciabatta from Hot Bread Kitchen, produce from our favorite farmers, and a very anchovy-y batch of bagna cauda. We also threw together April Bloomfield's radish salad, but more on that another time.
I never use a recipe for bagna cauda. Just simmer as many anchovy fillets and cloves of garlic you'd like in as much olive oil as you'd like (make sure the garlic cloves are submerged in the oil). When the anchovies break down, and the garlic is tender enough to break up with a spoon, turn off the heat and let it cool a little. Sprinkle with salt, then dip any vegetable you want into it.