Wednesday, December 31, 2014
As 2014 comes to a close, I'd like to finish the year by talking salad. If you're like most people, this conjures up images of lettuce leaves, perhaps with tomato wedges and cucumber slices, coated in dressing. While I adore green salads (from fresh heads of lettuce and scratch dressing), I'd like to inspire you to think beyond the leaf.
If I had it my way, I'd have some type of salad (celery root, carrot, raw beet, apple and herb, etc.) at every meal. This probably stems from the years I spent in Switzerland, where a day didn't go by without some type of salad gracing the table. We always ate it after the main course, which may sound strange to you pre-dinner salad eaters, but no matter how full you were, a salad would settle the stomach and aid in digestion. It worked like a charm.
While I avoid the pre-washed, bagged salad mixes (you shouldn't if that works for you), I don't always have the time or desire to wash and spin a head of grimy lettuce. This celery apple salad is for nights like that.
I always have celery in the crisper and apples in the fruit bowl, both of which keep pretty well. So even when groceries are running low, this is a cinch to throw together on a busy night. There's really no reason you can't have your salad and eat it, too.
Celery and Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts
The variations here are endless. Use any green herb (I'm partial to parsley or chives), nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios), or fruit (grapes or pears work equally well in place of the apples). For a more substantial salad, add some soft, crumbled cheese (think feta, chèvre, gorgonzola, etc.)
1/2 cup raw walnut halves
5 large celery ribs
1 crisp apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1/3 cup fresh, chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking frequently, until they begin to brown and give off a nutty, toasted aroma. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Slice each celery rib on a bias to produce long, thin, diagonal slices. Add the celery and apple to a large salad bowl. Roughly chop the walnuts and add them, along with the parsley, to the celery and apples. Sprinkle with olive oil, fresh lemon juice (start with 1 tablespoon) and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice (I always add more), if needed. Serve with - or if you're at my house, after - your meal.