Thursday, February 10, 2011
Celery Side Salad
I am not the biggest fan of celery, never have been, and the fact that it's commonly served as a kids snack smothered in peanut butter astounds me. (Blue cheese dressing? OK.) Kids refuse to eat broccoli but they'll eat celery? Really? Maybe we should be smearing peanut butter on broccoli...Anyhoo, I often have to purchase celery in order to use a single stalk to saute along with a chopped carrot and onion. What's a girl to do with all of the leftovers? Have a side salad!
Now, I generally think of side salads and salads in general as an obvious summer snack, but after an amazing dinner at Maialino where I consumed the maialino al forno (roast suckling pig) among other calorie dense delicacies, the celery salad sounded like the right dish to cut through all of the fat. At Maialino the celery salad is called insalata di sedano and is made with celery, fennel, hazelnuts, and pecorino. I had the celery, hazelnuts, and grana padano at home, so I just made the salad with what I had and I was quite pleased with the results. It's tart yet refreshing and the hazelnuts and cheese make it surprisingly satisfying. It's a side salad I'd like to keep around.
1/3 cup hazelnuts
4 celery ribs, trimmed and sliced thinly crosswise, delicate leaves reserved
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly shaved Pecorino, Parmesan, or Grana Padano
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until fragrant and lightly toasted. Cool and then roughly cop the nuts, discarding excess brown skins.
2. Add the sliced celery to a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season generously with salt and pepper, add the toasted nuts and toss gently to combine. Top with the cheese and chopped celery leaves if desired. Makes 2 salads.