Help me eat something other than anchovies
April 6, 2012 4:01 PM   Subscribe

I love bagna cauda. What other small, strongly-flavoured sauces or dips make a good centrepiece for a meal?

On nights when I have time to prep I usually make meals that have lots of raw vegetables and bread, paired with something small and flavourful like a dipping sauce or cured meats. I discovered bagna cauda a while ago and it's awesome. What other foods pack lots of flavour and will pair well with a bunch of veggies and bread?
posted by ZaphodB to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
posted by blurker at 4:09 PM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

Olive Tapenade - particularly if it's a bit sweetened
Goat Cheese
Homemade ricotta
Guacamole - replace bread with chips
Hummus - in red pepper and extra-garlicky varieties
Chili con Queso or Queso Fundido
Nam Prik Ong - substitute sticky rice for bread

+1 to Muhammara
posted by asphericalcow at 4:19 PM on April 6, 2012

I haven't tried it yet, but Tamar Adler recommends building a meal around aioli in her book An Everlasting Meal (a great book, btw).
posted by Wordwoman at 4:23 PM on April 6, 2012

posted by strangely stunted trees at 4:27 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Extra-garlicky baba ganoush.
+1 tapenade
Pesto, maybe? I've made a creamy pesto by taking standard pesto and mixing it with cream cheese and sour cream (I don't do mayo), and that makes a great dip.
posted by MeghanC at 4:31 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Welsh rarebit
posted by lotus-eater at 4:42 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Aioli is a great suggestion, especially since you can make one batch then split it into a handful of bowls and season each differently (piment d'espelette, gumbo file & mustard, mashed anchovies & oregano, whatever sounds good at the moment). Now I'm totally craving some roasted padron peppers with espelette aioli.
posted by foodgeek at 4:52 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I popped in to suggest zhoug and green mango pickle.

Welsh rarebit isn't a sauce it's a dish, but I'll agree that the combination of sharp cheddar and Worcestershire sauce and mustard packs quite a punch.

And on preview: ZOMG I can't wait for Padrón peppers to come back into season!

posted by Specklet at 4:53 PM on April 6, 2012

+1 more to Muhammara.

Toasting the walnuts just right is the key to that dip, in my experience.
posted by gurple at 4:57 PM on April 6, 2012

posted by mmascolino at 5:33 PM on April 6, 2012

On the Muhammara theme, a big bowl of romesco is going to fit the bill, and you can put together a lovely American variant on the Catalan calçotada with lightly grilled ramps, asparagus and bread.
posted by holgate at 5:41 PM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

"building a meal around aioli"

aïoli garni? Delicious...

Persillade? Pistou -- make the soup, dip your bread in?

Google "hummus masabacha," and consider all those "topped" hummuses one sees in the stores now -- easy to make your own
posted by kmennie at 6:02 PM on April 6, 2012

Hummus! Buy a good one or make your own, serve with fluffy soft fresh pitas (not the thin horrible ones that you can get at grocery stores... try to find a mideastern market) or any other tasty bread and lots of vegetable spears. Nom nom nom. (But beware, hummus = chickpeas = legumes = fartypants for many people.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:17 AM on April 7, 2012

Goat cheese blended with roasted red peppers with a squeeze of lemon is irresistible.
posted by Jode at 4:56 AM on April 7, 2012

posted by freshwater at 10:10 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by jocelmeow at 12:04 PM on April 7, 2012

It sounds like you might enjoy gado-gado.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:53 PM on April 8, 2012

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