Today’s tasting is a true celebration of spring: a rainbow of the season’s best vegetables served in almost the same state as when they sprouted from the ground. I love offering a few bites for guests to snack on before a dinner party, but my two requirements for appetizers is that they must be (1) incredibly simple for me to prepare, and (2) light enough so as not to dampen everyone’s appetites before the meal. Oh, and if it happens to be really beautiful, that’s always a plus. Instead of arranging vegetable crudité around a bowl of dip on a platter (yawn), why not make it into a stunning centerpiece by displaying the vegetables in tall glasses and vases, almost like a floral arrangement? Cut into long strips and served with arugula pesto and a sprinkling of maldon sea salt, any humble vegetable is suddenly party-ready. By the way, these lovelies were part of a springtime garden party we shot last week… stay tuned for the rest of the details later this week as part of a new series that I’m seriously giddy to introduce! But for now, keep reading for the recipe…
Spring Vegetable Crudité with Arugula Pesto
For the vegetables:
- asparagus, ends trimmed
- red and yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into long, thin strips
- grape tomatoes, washed and left whole
- radishes, washed and left whole
- haricot verts, ends trimmed
- any other vegetables that look in-season and delicious at the market!
For the Arugula Pesto:
- 1 large bunch arugula (about 1 packed cup), trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Arrange vegetables so that they’re standing tall in glasses and vases of varying heights.
- Combine arugula, garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice in a food processor with the blade attachment. With the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, and serve alongside vegetable crudité.