Crudités are traditional French appetizers comprising sliced or whole raw vegetables which are dipped in a vinaigrette or another dipping sauce. Crudités often include celery sticks, carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus spears. The mixed crisp peeled vegetables, such as carrots, celery, scallions, parsnips, jicama, and red bell pepper, cut into thick strips are referred to as mixed vegetable crudités. These sliced or whole small vegetables make up a first course of a meal, or are more commonly found as appetizers in banquet style eating. Vegetable slices, especially for banquets, should be just the size to provide a bite or two, and easy to hold in the hand, or place on a small plate or napkins.
How to select
The vegetables to be cut and used for crudités should be fresh, crisp and without any discoloration or soft spots. Discard the stems, roots or any yellowing leaves while preparation.
· Crudités are a great choice when serving appetizers, since they will appeal to dieters, who can fill up on these lower calorie entries, and will also satisfy any vegetarian guests.
· When you're deciding what to serve on a vegetable plate, consider taste, texture, and appearance. You'll need to decide if any of the vegetables you use for crudités should be blanched first. Blanching can help make certain vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower or green beans more appealing and easier to eat. Most other vegetables don't require blanching, but the above are likely to taste a little better and are more digestible if they have been cooked slightly for minute or two. You don't want to blanch vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes, celery, radishes, or carrots.
· As you're considering taste, consider variety. Sweet cherry tomatoes and carrots mix well with the greener tastes of broccoli. The mild flavours of cauliflower, mushrooms and green beans set off the more distinctive tasting asparagus. The simplest crudités could be a plate of tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms, but feel free to be elaborate.
· Consider having something white, yellow, orange, red and green for the best possible look to your plate and for a rainbow of delicious vegetables. Try cauliflower, baby corn, carrots, tomatoes and radishes, and asparagus or broccoli for colours that will really invigorate this appetizer.
· To lower cholesterol and sodium, make a yoghurt dip instead of using mayonnaise.
How to store
Store the crudités in a plastic wrapping in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
· Keeping a plate of fresh veggies in the fridge is terrific for children who like to graze between meals.
· It's a healthy choice, low in calories, and yet still satisfyingly crunchy, sweet, and fresh tasting
· Mixed vegetable crudités are rich in fiber, iron, calcium and carotenoids.