A traditional dish of Piemonte from the 16th century on, bagna càuda is a warm dipping sauce composed of anchovies, garlic, olive oil, and sometimes milk, ground walnuts and a little flour. It is served as an antipasto with a variety of vegetables served raw and sometimes cooked. Of the vegetables less known to Americans, the cardoon is one that has a particular affinity with bagna càuda; the stalk is pared down and the silver-hued strings are removed to make it edible. It is served raw with the bagna cauda.
Today you can find the bare bones of this dish in other regions. In rural Tuscany it becomes a simple olive oil, garlic and herbs dip.