Given our love of dips at Eater, we were thrilled to find this recipe for crudites with romesco sauce in Please Wait to Be Tasted, the new cookbook from the team behind the beloved Hudson, New York, restaurant Lil’ Deb’s Oasis. A giant platter of romesco sauce fringed with raw vegetables is arguably the apotheosis of dip, and one that translates beautifully to outdoor entertaining. Here, as chefs and authors Carla Kaya Perez-Gallardo, Hannah Black, and Wheeler write, the classic Catalonian sauce is made with “pistachios, green bell peppers, and parsley to give it garden goddess qualities.” It’s perfect for this time of year, when vegetables are particularly bountiful. The Lil’ Deb’s team has plenty of suggestions for which ones to use, but the only rule of thumb is to go where inspiration takes you — so long as you take some care in preparing the crudites for presentation. Raw vegetables need love too, after all.
Crudites With Romesco Verde Recipe
Makes 1 party platter
3 green bell peppers
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup roasted pistachios
1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves
1 fresh serrano chile pepper
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Make the romesco verde:
Step 1: Under a broiler or on a grill, blacken the green bell peppers, using tongs to rotate the peppers for an even char. Once the skin has blackened but not burned, put the peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and steam for at least 10 minutes.
Step 2: When the peppers have cooled, gently rub your fingers along the charred skin to remove it. Cut the peppers into slivers, discarding the ribs and seeds. Transfer to a blender or food processor then add the parsley, pistachios, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, garlic, serrano pepper, and salt and blend until a rough paste has formed. With the blender or processor running, gradually add the olive oil and continue blending to fully incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Make the crudites:
OK, so the next step is crucial and we encourage you to find joy in the process of preparing crudités for presentation. At the restaurant, we argue over who gets to clean the vegetables because the process is so meditative and relaxing. All you need is cool water in the sink or in a bowl, dishcloth or paper towels, a peeler, and a paring knife. Then consider each vegetable’s form and how best to clean and cut them to produce a dynamic variety of shapes and sizes. We have some suggestions to make these beautiful vegetables even more beautiful:
- radishes: keep them whole; remove their outer leaves, but leave their inner dainty leaves intact
- peel carrots and then cut them on the bias
- rinse fennel and remove its tough outer layer, before cutting it vertically to reveal its gorgeous, angel-like wings
- peel strips of cucumber skin lengthwise to create alternating rows and then cut into batons
- remove the outer layers of scallions, revealing their bright white skin, and trim their tops at a slight angle to accentuate their zesty personalities
- peel jícama and cut into rods or rounds
- serve peas and runner beans raw or blanched in salted, boiling water for 30 seconds and then shocked in an ice bath for 1 minute to bring out their deeper green hues
- for extra crunch, prepare cauliflower or broccoli raw or blanched
To serve: Select a large, flat-ish platter and schmear a generous amount of romesco down the middle, on a curved line. Arrange vegetables, creating zones of color—this is an art form after all! To distribute color and form throughout the platter, don’t be afraid to place veggies in different areas on the board more than once.
Reprinted with permission from Please Wait to Be Tasted: The Lil’ Deb’s Oasis Cookbook by Carla Kaya Perez-Gallardo, Hannah Black, and Wheeler, copyright © 2022. Published by Princeton Architectural Press.
Photography copyright: Jessica Pettway © 2022.