Broccoli florets

Photo: John Kernick

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The appeal of dippers comes from the contrast in texture, like the crunch of baked bagel chips coated with a creamy hummus. With thick, chunky dips you'll need sturdy chips or veggies, while smooth, light spreads work perfectly with more delicate bites like lettuce leaves. To blanch vegetables, briefly plunge them into a large pot of boiling salted water, then refresh in a bowl of ice water and drain. Vegetables can be prepared a day in advance, wrapped in paper towels, and refrigerated in a lock-top plastic bag.

For Broccoli:

Cut into bite-size florets, then slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Blanch until bright green and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.