When it comes to crudités, Dr. Oz has it all wrong.
That’s the verdict from chef Andrew Sutin, who’s based at The Mary Lane, a New York City restaurant, and considers himself a veggie fanatic. Sutin has offered crudités — essentially, the French term for raw vegetables served as an appetizer or party snack — at his establishment and also regularly prepares them at home.
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At MarketWatch’s request, Sutin viewed the now-viral video of Mehmet Oz, the surgeon-turned-television-personality currently running as the Republican candidate in Pennsylvania for U.S. senator, shopping for crudités-platter essentials. In the video, Oz protests the cost of the items he’s selecting — broccoli, carrots, asparagus, and premade guacamole and salsa — and says of his $20 running tab: “That’s outrageous. And we have Joe Biden to thank for this.”
Sutin didn’t go into the politics of the matter, but he did talk produce and pricing. And he pointed to several crudités-shopping mistakes that Oz made. Such as …
Oz picked the wrong vegetables: A good platter of crudités should include such “cornerstone” vegetables as cucumbers, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes, says Sutin — in other words, vegetables that are easy to pick up and dip into sauces. Of those, Oz has only one — the carrots. Even then, as Sutin points out, Oz opted for whole carrots, not the ready-to-serve baby kind, which means he would have to do plenty of prep.
“ ‘A raw piece of asparagus is not what I’m excited to eat.’ ”
Sutin is OK with the choice of broccoli, though he says he prefers cauliflower in its place because it’s a “tastier” option with “a better overall crunch.” But Sutin is especially puzzled by the asparagus, since it’s a vegetable rarely eaten uncooked — and therefore rarely seen on a crudités platter. “A raw piece of asparagus is not what I’m excited to eat,” Sutin says.
Oz picked the wrong dips: Guacamole and salsa? Sutin says he’s almost never seen them served with crudités. Especially the salsa: “I can’t imagine sitting down with a head of broccoli and trying to dip that into a chunky tomato salsa.”
Instead, Sutin says hummus and a creamy dressing — he’s partial to green goddess or ranch — are the perfect complements to those raw veggies.
Oz didn’t look for ways to save: The biggest way Oz, were that his goal, could have brought his costs down — and brought them down considerably — was to prepare his own dips, says Sutin. A good hummus can be made with canned chickpeas and some lemon, garlic and spices — all for a little more than a dollar, the chef notes. And homemade salsa — with chopped tomatoes and red onions and some lime juice — shouldn’t run more than $2.50. A side benefit to going this route: The homemade version tastes better, Sutin says.
“ ‘I can’t imagine sitting down with a head of broccoli and trying to dip that into a chunky tomato salsa.’ ”
And back to the asparagus: Aside from the fact Sutin is not a fan of it in raw form, he notes it’s costlier than many other veggie options.
Oz didn’t shop at a farmers market: Never mind the fact that Oz had trouble identifying the supermarket he was shopping at — he called it Wegners, a grocery chain that doesn’t exist. For Sutin, the issue was that Oz didn’t choose to shop for produce at a farmers market, of which there are plenty in Pennsylvania and which generally offer fresher — and more local — options. “You’re supporting a small business and buying much higher-quality ingredients,” says Sutin of going the nonsupermarket route.
Chef Andrew Sutin (left) loves to talk veggies.
Courtesy of Andrew Sutin
MarketWatch reached out to Oz’s campaign for comment but didn’t receive an immediate response.