According to entertaining expert and style editor, Eddie Ross, creating a mouthwatering crudité platter is all in the presentation. “People eat with their eyes,” he says. “It’s about the wow factor of how it’s served.” So we challenged Eddie to make us a centerpiece-worthy vegetable tray using our Giant Clam Shell.
When Eddie is hosting, he loves to prepare dishes that he can set out and forget about — so he can actually enjoy his party. While this platter takes a little bit of advance prep, it’s totally worth it. Plus, this upgrade from the basic carrot and celery plate will surely impress your guests.
Step 1: Prep Your Vegetables
“Prepping the vegetables is key. You don’t want to cut and arrange, cut and arrange,” Eddie says. First, gather the vegetables you want to use in your platter, whether it’s from the grocery store or your own garden. For a truly stunning platter, you’ll want to show off the vibrant bounty of the season, so go for as many colors, textures and shapes as you can. Just remember to buy what looks best, so you don’t end up with any dried-out or wilted vegetables on your platter.
Eddie’s go-to vegetables are:
- Cabbage (to hold the dip)
- Kale (to create a leafy base)
- Celery hearts
- Cherry tomatoes
- Bell peppers (yellow, orange and red)
- English cucumber
- Haricot verts
- Waxed yellow beans
Next, wash and cut your vegetables to ensure everything is relatively bite-sized. “You don’t want a double-dip catastrophe,” warns Eddie. Bell peppers are cut into strips, carrots are chopped in half length-wise and radishes and cucumbers are sliced. For the beans and asparagus, briefly blanch them in boiling salted water and shock them in ice water while still crisp-tender. This step can be done a day or hours in advance, says Eddie. Just wrap vegetables in damp paper towels and place in plastic storage bags in the refrigerator.
Step 2: Create a Cabbage Dip Bowl
It should go without saying, but no crudité platter is complete without dip. Sure, you could use a bowl to serve the dip, but why not continue the edible theme with a cabbage bowl? To prepare your cabbage bowl, gently peel back the outer layers of cabbage and set aside for later. Cut ½ inch off the bottom of the head to make it sit flat. With your knife tilted at a diagonal, cut a three-inch circle at the top, removing the core, then hollow out the rest of the cabbage with a spoon. If you don’t have a signature dip, check out Eddie’s dip recipes.
Step 3: Build Your Base
To create a luscious, leafy base for your edible landscape, fill the Clam Shell with kale.* Then use those saved outer leaves of the cabbage to create nests to cradle your vegetables. Finally, place the cabbage dip bowl in the center. Now you’re ready for the final touches.
Step 4: Arrange Your Vegetables
Eddie compares arranging a vegetable platter to creating a floral arrangement. “Think about where your color is going to be,” he offers. Group vegetables of similar shades together, such as pairing the carrots with the orange peppers, and you’ll end up with a beautiful spectrum of color. “The key is that there’s height and color and texture and it doesn’t just feel like flat vegetables in a bowl.”
*To ensure food safety, line the shell in plastic wrap first, then cover with kale leaves.
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