Josef Centeno’s Recipe for Raw
and Charred Winter Crudités With Ranch Vinaigrette
With an herb-flecked ranch dressing for dipping or drizzling, a mix of
raw and roasted vegetables makes a perfect salad for riding out the transition
from winter to spring in this recipe from L.A. chef Josef Centeno
By Kitty Greenwald in the Wall Street Journal
STALWART OF Junior League luncheons, the
crudité platter, wasn’t exactly a childhood staple for chef Josef Centeno. “I grew
up eating Tex-Mex and barbecue,” said the San Antonio native.
“American Cookery,” James Beard’s seminal
1972 tome, broadened Mr. Centeno’s perspective considerably. In it, Mr. Beard
codified an American culinary canon just as Antonin Carême had done for French
cuisine in the 18th century; its more than 1500 recipes extended even to dishes
as simple as veggies and dip. “My aunt gave me that cookbook when I was 18, at
the University of Texas and working as a dishwasher,” Mr. Centeno said.
“Suddenly the range of chefs I thought about opened up.” Stints at such temples
of fine dining as La Côte Basque in New York and Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif.,
eventually followed, and he had the opportunity to try his hand at cuisines
from around the world.
forward a couple of decades, and Mr. Centeno has injected new life into
downtown Los Angeles with four singular restaurants: The first skews Spanish
and Middle Eastern, the second Mexican and the third looks to Japan and Italy.
His latest, Ledlow, specializes in American classics of the kind Mr. Beard
valorized, passed through the prism of Mr. Centeno’s own sensibility. “It’s a
natural progression for me,” he said.
plate of crudités, Mr. Centeno’s second Slow Food Fast contribution, is pure
Ledlow. Blistered broccolini, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts mingle with raw
avocado, carrots, radishes and Asian pear slivers; the herb-flecked, creamy
yogurt dressing can either be used for dunking or drizzled over top. “When I
make this I get the best vegetables and fruits. With some served raw and others
roasted, you get different textures and temperatures,” the chef said. “It’s a
Raw and Charred Winter Crudités With Ranch Vinaigrette
Time: 20 minutes Serves: 4-6
15 Brussels sprouts, halved
½ large head cauliflower,
broken into bite-size florets
1 bunch broccolini
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccolini], ends trimmed
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons
olive oil, plus more to taste
Salt and freshly ground
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Greek yogurt
½ clove garlic, grated
½ tablespoon fresh lemon
juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon plus 1
teaspoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped
8 small carrots, halved
1 small avocado, cut into
6 breakfast radishes, halved
or quartered, depending on size
½ Asian pear, cut into thin
1 teaspoon finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. On a large baking sheet,
toss Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccolini with 2 tablespoons oil and a pinch
of salt. Roast until tender yet still snappy and browned in spots, about 15
2. Meanwhile, make ranch vinaigrette: In a small bowl, beat
together mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chives and dill.
Whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil and season with salt, pepper and additional lemon
juice to taste. Set aside.
3. To serve, toss roasted vegetables with carrots, avocados,
radishes, pears, parsley and remaining chives and arrange on a platter. Drizzle
with additional oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve with
dressing alongside or drizzled over top.