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Give these bay scallops a nice warm bath. Then eat them with raw and roasted vegetables, as nature intended.

You braisin’? You should be. The cold weather is in full swing, and NYC chef Justin Smillie’s new cookbook, Slow Fires, is not unlike a long poem (with recipes) about that special, magical moment when a tough, meaty, collagen-bound piece of meat gives up its treasured secret and yields willingly to nothing more than the tines of a fork. We’re talking about slow cooking, folks — vegetables most definitely included. You’ll need some scallops and good anchovies. 

Bagna cauda, meaning “warm bath,” is an Italian brew of olive oil, butter, garlic, and an unapologetic amount of anchovy. It’s the centerpiece of Piemontese feasts, with a traditional crudité for dunking. To make a respectable pot, you will need good ancho­vies, the chubby ones packed in olive oil, tasty enough to be eaten right out of the jar.

Such spreads often celebrate humble winter vegetables. But when I heard that on fine tables in Alba, a Piemontese town known for its truffles and fine wines, white truffles are served with the sauce, I got to thinking about our most sumptuous cold-weather food here in New York. And that’s how these bay scallops made their way into this meal.

Plucked from Long Island Sound, bay scallops — sweet, soft and buttery — are precious. And with a bagna cauda dunk, their sweetness melds with the anchovy for a striking combination.

Seared in batches on one side only (to ensure caramelization without overcook­ing), these scallops should be cooked to order and brought to the table ripping hot. That means occasionally getting up to sear a few batches during the meal. Such come-as-you-are informality is at the heart of the bagna cauda tradition, no matter how luxe you make it.

As for this spread’s other bits: Sunchokes roast on the oven floor until their skins crackle and their insides collapse. The rest is raw, and you should buy whatever is best. If I make this in late fall and tomatoes and peppers are still around, I’ll snatch some up. Otherwise, it’s carrots, fennel, radicchio, radishes and whatever else is in need of a hot bath.

Reprinted with permission from Slow Fires