Great friends invited us over for a family party over the weekend and asked me to make a starter for the evening. I haven’t cooked in, oh, forever, so I turned to my favorite: Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.
This salad sounds a little strange, but it was divine! Really light, crispy, and citrus-y.
This is mine!
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup plus 1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
2 tbs minced shallots
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp anchovy paste (I skipped this ingredient)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups thinly sliced celery stalks, tender leaves included, sliced on an angle with a sharp knife or mandoline (12 stalks, or 1 head of celery)
4-ounce chunk aged Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (I cut extra slices to share in separate dish)
2/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
At least an hour before you server, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, the shallots, celery seed, celery salt, anchovy paste (I didn’t miss it without it), 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper.
Place the thinly sliced celery in a mixing bowl and toss it with the remaining 1 tbs of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of salt. (Ina recommends that you do this even though you’ve already added these ingredients before. She asks us to trust her and I do!)
Add enough dressing to moisten well.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the celery to crisp and the flavors to develop (the Running Man calls this food sex. I’m sorry about sharing that, but it makes me giggle every time).
When ready to serve, arrange the celery on a platter, shave the Parmesan onto the celery with a vegetable peeler, then sprinkle with chopped walnuts, parsley leaves, salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Would be especially yummy on a hot day as a summer picnic offering. Ina, thank you for making me look good!
If, like me, you have every one of Ina’s cookbooks, this is from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, pg. 62
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