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Tuesday
Oct112011

Pickle Your Crudités Party Tray

cru•di•tés : noun pl \krue-dē-tā, ˌkrü-di-ˈtā\ cut pieces of raw vegetables (as celery or carrot sticks) served as an hors d'oeuvre often with a dip. Origin: French, from plural of crudité meaning rawness; from Latin cruditas indigestion, from crudus. First known use: 1960

When throwing a holiday bash, overdoing the crudités platter is always a good plan. Why? Because it’s better to err on the side of too much on hand and dealing with leftovers than to have to interrupt the merry-making by preparing more crudités. (Or worse, having to run to the store for more.) Typical crudités platters include fresh broccoli, peppers (green, red and yellow), cauliflower, carrots (either “minis" or sticks), celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, radishes, cherry tomatoes—even asparagus and green beans. Some of the harder vegetables are best if blanched first and dunked in ice water before taking their place on the tray.

The Day After Your Bash

On the day after your bash when you’re wondering what you can do with all those prepared vegetables besides making that ubiquitous vegetable soup, let’s return to a favorite treatment recently posted on our Expendable Edibles blog: pickling vegetables in a pickle jar full of brine, but devoid of pickles.

Pickling Vegetables in a Pickle Jar

In this post we demonstrate the basic steps, using past peak cucumbers:

Cucumbers

  1. Fully submerge cucumbers cut into spears into pickling liquid to prevent mold or spoilage.
  2. Add 1-2 cloves garlic (peeled and split in half) and 1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 to 3 sprigs fresh dil.
  3. Seal jar tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 weeks.

While brining cucumbers is one thing, leftover crudités is another. Some of these harder vegetables can be “woody” or fibrous (such as cauliflower and broccoli or asparagus and celery). So, for those specific cleaned and cut vegetables, take a few additional steps take to achieve the best results, then proceed with the basics for Pickling Vegetables in a Pickle Jar described above for cucumbers.

Cauliflower and broccoli

Cut away the hard or woody stems, splitting florets in half.

Carrots

If full-size, cut lengthwise to fit in the pickle jar.

Celery and asparagus

  1. Peel away a thin layer of the outermost stalk with a sharp vegetable peeler.
  2. Place vegetables in a microwave safe dish approximately 2 inches deep (such as a glass pie pan).
  3. Cover vegetables with 1 inch water, seal top with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Drain and allow vegetables to come to room temperature.
  5. Fully submerge “steamed” vegetables into your pickling jar, seal tightly, and refrigerate for at least one week.

Mushrooms and cherry tomatoes

Twist off mushroom stems, drying mushroom caps carefully with a paper towel. Cut mushrooms and cherry tomatoes in half.

Serving Your Pickled Crudités Party Tray

So just what can one do with all those pickled vegetables? In Japanese cuisine, pickles are a dietary mainstay, sometimes even eaten at breakfast. If that’s too far off the traditional American fare, consider serving your pickled crudités alongside a sandwich, omelet, over beans and rice, or pizza. Serve pickled crudités with cocktails, in a decorative dish alongside a bowl of cashews or almonds.

The opportunities are endless if you allow yourself to experiment. I've even served pickled produce with a brunch strata, drained and placed on a lettuce leaf instead of the usual fare of cut up fruit. Remember, your pickled vegetables become progressively softer after a few weeks, so enjoy them within the first couple of weeks when they're at their peak!

© Expendable Edibles. Learn more about guest bloggers Marlene Samuels and Nancy Gershman.

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