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.

Crudités 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 prepared in advance and assembled on Shabbos for seudah shelishis.

Start with an assortment of vegetables — seven to 10 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 two or three 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 or “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.

Real Onion Dip

3 medium onions, finely diced
1/2 cup 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°F.

Preheat a large skillet. Add the 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.

Purée the mayonnaise, vinegar salt and pepper 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 about 3 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, top with the sautéed onions.

Roasted Vegetable Dip

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 tablespoons light olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or 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.

One should consult a Rav regarding checking of problematic vegetables for infestation.