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Touchdown! Avocado dip and rainbow of veggies a Super Bowl score

A crudites platter may not be considered standard fare for Super Bowl Sunday, but when it's artfully presented with a creative variety of raw veggies, we'll wager that it can hold its own against any hearty contender. Especially when it's served...

This crudités platter features Avocado Green Goddess Dip, a delicious addition to a Super Bowl party. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
This crudités platter features Avocado Green Goddess Dip, a delicious addition to a Super Bowl party. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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A crudités platter may not be considered standard fare for Super Bowl Sunday, but when it's artfully presented with a creative variety of raw veggies, we'll wager that it can hold its own against any hearty contender. Especially when it's served with this week's Avocado Green Goddess Dip.

This recipe was inspired by the very ripe avocados I found last week at the Hornbacher's store on 32nd Avenue in south Fargo. Even moderately ripe avocados can be hard to come by in our part of the country, and I couldn't resist bringing home a bagful.

I have a great food hack if you can't find ready-to-use avocados. Simply place the hard avocados in a paper bag with a banana and/or apple, fold the top down to close the bag, and within 24 to 48 hours the avocados should be ripe and ready. The fruits emit ethylene gas which gets trapped inside the paper bag and accelerates the ripening process. I've even had results in as little as six hours, especially when I use both a ripe banana and an apple.

With the Super Bowl coming up, I pondered how to turn these beautiful, ripe avocados into the perfect game day dish.

Guacamole would be a perfect contender, but a few years ago we featured a terrific family recipe for a rough-cut guacamole with chorizo sausage. This recipe has been a popular one on our blog ever since, and I knew I didn't want to compete with it.I decided instead to turn an old recipe for green goddess salad dressing into a party dip with the simple additions of fresh avocado and sour cream.

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Crudités is simply a fancy French word that is defined by Merriam Webster to mean "pieces of raw vegetables served as an hors d'oeuvres, often with a dip." All too often when we think of a vegetable platter, images of boring, uniform strips of carrot and celery emerge along with some dry and crumbly cauliflower or broccoli, a sad-looking cherry tomato or two and ranch dip.

In other words, a courteous nod to nutrition that nobody really wants to eat, especially at a party.But we believe that, with the right approach, a good crudités platter is capable of taking on the best hot dips, sandwiches and other bastions of greasy goodness that so often define a Super Bowl party spread.

To achieve this, you will need to create a platter so visually stimulating that it naturally draws your guests' attention to it.Focus on creating a balance of colors, flavors and textures, and incorporate a mix of traditional and non-traditional veggies like petite potatoes and mushrooms, colorful bell peppers, green onions, fennel, green beans, radishes, cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas.

For added elegance, cut your vegetables along a bias instead of straight across, and create a standout centerpiece for your dip with a bowl made from red or green cabbage.For enhanced vibrancy and texture, some vegetables should be blanched in boiling water for a minute or two, then immediately transferred to an ice bath. This step brightens up green veggies like string beans, pea pods and asparagus, and does wonders for improving the texture of cauliflower and broccoli.

Tony and Gio responded so well to this gorgeous avocado green goddess dip and colorful platter of healthy, raw vegetables they nearly devoured it all in one sitting.

Considering how much they love their hearty party foods, I'll consider this a touchdown.

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing in Edible Cabbage Bowl

Ingredients:

1 head of red or green cabbage

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1 cup sour cream

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup real mayonnaise

¼ cup fresh chives, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 anchovy fillet (optional)

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2 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar

2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and halved

Salt and pepper to taste

For the cabbage bowl:

Cut about a half inch off the bottom to create a flat base, and then slice off about an inch from the top. Use a sharp paring knife to carve around the perimeter of the bowl, leaving about a quarter to half-inch from the edge.

Use the knife to carve out the center for easy removal, and then a spoon to scrape out the remains. Cover with a damp paper towel and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be prepared up to one day in advance.

For the dip:

In a food processor or blender, puree all ingredients but the avocado, salt and pepper, until smooth. Add the avocado and blend again until creamy but still somewhat chunky. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

If the dip is too thick, add more buttermilk in a slow, steady stream while blending, until desired texture is achieved.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, or up to 2 days. Serve with fresh vegetables or your favorite chip.

Sarah's Tips:

  • When selecting vegetables, use a mix of at least 6 veggies with a focus on creating a balance of colors, flavors and textures.
  • Veggies like green beans, pea pods, asparagus, cauliflower and broccoli will be more vibrant and have better texture when blanched in boiling water for just a minute or 2, and then cooled immediately in an ice bath.
  • If using baby potatoes, boil first in salted water just until fork-tender, then cool in an ice bath.
  • For vegetables that are cut into strips, like carrots and peppers, cut the ends along a bias rather than straight across for a more elegant presentation.
  • Arrange vegetables next to contrasting colors and textures.

"Home With the Lost Italian" is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owns Sarello's in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their 12-year-old son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.All previous recipes can be found at thelostitalian.areavoices.com.

Related Topics: RECIPESFOOD
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