Almost every night at my house, we have some type of salad.
When the lettuce runs out, we turn to longer lasting vegetables to be the headliner. Celery is one of those choices.
There are loads of theories about how to best store it. I trim the bottom and cut the bunch in half crosswise. After swishing the freed stalks in cold water to wash it, I put the large stalks in one container with some cold water, the more tender stalks in a separate container with some cold water. My goal is to use up the more fragile, smaller stalks and leaves first.
This delicious version of celery salad is spiked with dates, almonds and Parmesan cheese, a lovely sweet, sour, salty balance of flavors.
Enjoy the crunch!
Celery Salad with Dates, Almonds and Parmigiano
Yield: 4 servings
8 celery stalks, with leaves preferred
4 Medjool dates, pitted, roughly chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds, see cook’s notes
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shaved into shards with swivel-bladed vegetable peeler
About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Cook’s notes: To toast almonds, heat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuts on rimmed baking sheet and roast about 8 to 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them because nuts burn easily.
1. Separate leaves from celery and set aside. Chill celery stalks in ice water for about 20 minutes to heighten crispness. Drain and pat dry. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Place leaves and celery slices in large bowl.
2. Add dates, almonds, lemon juice, and pepper flakes; toss. Add salt, pepper and cheese; toss. Add olive oil; toss. Taste and adjust seasoning, so you have a lovely, salty, tart, sweet balance. Serve cool.
Source: “Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables” by Joshua McFadden (Artisan, $35).