Holiday Crudités

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is getting ready for the continuing Holiday season. Holiday meals are hearty and protein rich, so starting out with crudites is an appropriately light beginning and a wonderful celebration of root and other seasonal vegetables. Mine included both raw and cooked vegetables: carrots, small potatoes, fennel, baby beets, green beans, orange cauliflower, and peppers. Fun arrangements on unusual platters or boards bring the dish a fresh look, so check out your bowls collection of boards and bowls for inspiration.

A variety of dips really brings the platter to life and gets people talking comparing their favorite. Here are three dips I included in mine.

Bagna Cauda (a variation on the Italian classic hot anchovy dip using cream)
Makes about 1 cup

2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
1 cup heavy cream

Have ready a small heat proof crock or mini saucepan over a candle burner (usually sold as a chocolate fondue set).

Mince and mash the garlic with the salt to create a paste. Set aside.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat, add the anchovies and mash with a fork until they disintegrate into the sauce. Add the garlic paste and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream, increase the heat, and boil until the sauce is thickened slightly. Check the seasoning and add freshly ground black pepper if you like.

Transfer the sauce to the crock and turn on the candle. (Sauce can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Reheat in a saucepan or directly over the candle.)

Aioli (Garlic dip)
Makes about 1 cup

2 medium cloves garlic (or small to minimize the flavor of the raw garlic)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mash the garlic to a paste with the salt in a mortar or on a cutting board using a large heavy knife.

Stir the yolk, lemon juice, and mustard into the mortar (or transfer the garlic mixture to a bowl and whisk in the yolk, lemon juice, and mustard).

Combine the oils and add, a few drops at a time, to the yolk mixture, pounding or whisking constantly, until all the oil is incorporated and mixture is emulsified. (If mixture separates, stop adding oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.) Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. If aïoli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water.

Baba's Curry Dip (that's my grandmother)
Makes about 1 cup

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives, optional

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl and adjust seasoning.

Ian KnauerComment