If raw vegetables are all that come to mind when you hear the word “crudités,” listen up: At vegetable haven PYT in LA, chef Josef Centeno has completely overhauled the cocktail-hour staple simply by presenting produce with different textures and temperatures on one plate. Think really delicious antipasti with dipping sauces. “Any way that we’d want eat a vegetable or fruit—roasted, grilled, or pickled—makes it onto the platter,” he says of the restaurant’s ever-changing crudités special.
The most important guideline is that everything should be easy to pick up—it is finger food after all. Centeno likes using a combination of baby vegetables, like peewee potatoes and small carrots, with mature ones cut into wedges or on a bias. From there, he highlights each element’s ideal texture, which for Centeno changes daily. “Sometimes I’ll roast radishes and other times I keep them crunchy and raw,” he says. “I don’t set any rules because I tend to break them.” The one rule he does live by: Everything on the plate cannot be cold and raw. Play around with different preparations, get creative with your cuts, then mix up a sauce or two to tie it all together. He also seasons each item—even it’s just with flaky salt and olive oil—so it doesn’t depend on a dip to taste delicious.
Centeno’s Healthyish spread includes grilled fennel and zucchini, roasted cauliflower, caraway pickled carrots and cucumbers, heirloom radishes, and speckled Castelfranco. But this is just a template. Try adding grilled mustard broccoli or spiced marinated beets, and mix in some of the colorful stone fruit you picked up at the farmers’ market. We’re using Centeno’s smooth vadouvan yogurt dip and lemony sugar snap pea vinaigrette to dunk everything from roasted artichoke hearts to raw Cara Cara orange segments. What’s on your crudité plate?