May 7, 2015

Crunch Time

Crudités are traditional French appetizers consisting of sliced or whole vegetables dipped in vinaigrette or dressing. Crudités most often include raw vegetables although some prefer to blanch things like string beans or wax beans. Crunchy crudités are as satisfying as chips any day and offering them with a tasty homemade dipping sauce will keep your guests coming back for more.
Crudites platters are perfect for summer entertaining when you don’t want to serve a hot appetizer. They are often the prettiest thing on a buffet! They can be prepped in advance and assembled on Shabbos for seuda shlishis.
Start with an assortment of vegetables; seven to ten different types in a variety of shapes, colors and textures.  Wash, trim, peel and store in separate bowls before you start. Cut or break your larger vegetables into smaller pieces that can be eaten in 2-3 bites.
Use any large platter or tray. Place the dip bowl in the center. Leave the actual dip in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
Start in the middle and build out. Try to alternate colors so that it's well balanced and appealing. You want an over-abundance of vegetables. Layer the vegetables so that it not only looks plentiful, but if you take one thing, you won't be left with a hole. Place the dip or dressing in the bowl just before serving.
Adding edible flowers gives your platter a little burst of color.
Alternately, you can serve individual crudités “shooters.” Place a tablespoon of dressing in the bottom of a shooter or narrow shot glass. Stand a variety of vegetable strips in it and serve on a pretty tray.

3 medium onions, 2 left in their skins, and 1 peeled
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, checked and chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a roasting pan, rub the 2 onions in their skins with the 2 tablespoons oil. Bake until squishy soft, turning them once, about 45 minutes. Cool, peel the onions and set aside.
Meanwhile, finely dice the remaining onion. Preheat a large skillet. Add the remaining oil and heat until hot. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 20 minutes more.
Strain the sautéed onions through a sieve. Reserve 1/4 cup of the onion oil and let it cool completely. Set aside.
Puree the roasted onions in a food processor. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, and salt, and pulse until smooth. While the motor is running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of reserved onion oil until incorporated. Transfer the onion dip to a serving bowl and stir in the scallions. Refrigerate until very thick, about 3 hours or overnight.  When ready to serve top with the sautéed onions.

1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 medium onion, sliced into thick rings
4 cloves garlic peeled
1 small zucchini, sliced thick
4 tablespoon light olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper a silicone mat.
Place the vegetables in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place the vegetables on lined pan and roast until they are slightly charred, about 30 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove from oven and cool.
Place in a food processor and process until slightly chunky. Stir in the mayonnaise. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.



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