Celery is one of those “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” vegetables. Sure, along with carrots and onions it forms ‘mirepoix,’ the base for many savoury dishes, and it’s ubiquitous on vegetable trays. At family dinners when I was a child, my mom always put out little dishes of celery and carrot sticks, along with some sweet pickles. But that was about it, apart from some gloppy canned cream of celery soup (and we won’t talk about that). Celery really doesn’t loom large in my food memories, even though I’m fond of it.
So I was intrigued when Emmy of my go-to vegetarian blog Emmy Cooks wrote a post about a salad where celery is the star. I’ve made this twice now in about as many weeks, and plan to make it many more times, particularly in the winter months. I love the crunch, the celery flavour and the brightness of the parsley. A lemony dressing adds sunshiney zing to the plate, most welcome on a dull fall day. Emmy calls for red leaf or another delicate lettuce, but I made mine with crispy fresh romaine and it worked well with the bold texture of the celery. Some shavings or a grating of parmesan cheese adds contrasting earthy richness.
All in all, this salad is a satisfying and refreshing meal, along with some scrambled eggs or some good bread and butter. Mmm, I could go for a plateful right now.
Winter Celery Salad
Recipe adapted from Emmy Cooks, here.
To make this salad, put the desired amount of torn or chopped romaine lettuce in a bowl. Add a generous amount of thinly sliced celery — remember, this is a celery salad. For a speedier preparation, you can just slice across the whole head until you have the right amount. Grab a fat handful of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chop the leaves and add to your bowl of green goodness. Put some olive oil in a small bowl (I use less than a tablespoon for an entree-sized salad for myself). Squeeze in fresh lemon juice until you have a good lemony dressing. Add a pinch or so of salt and some freshly ground pepper (not too much, it should stay in the background). MIx the dressing well, pour over the salad and toss. If you like, add some shavings or a grating of fresh parmesan.
Crunch away and enjoy!