Celery is usually just the crunch in tuna salad or the filler in stuffing, but this recipe from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? (Clarkson Potter, 2010) by Ina Garten recognizes celery for what it is—a delicious ingredient in its own right. Fresh celery with a tart lemon vinaigrette and salty Parmesan are a great combination of flavors. Slice the celery as thinly as possible with a sharp knife or a mandoline.
Celery & Parmesan Salad
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups thinly sliced celery hearts, tender leaves included, sliced on an angle (about 12 stalks)
4-ounce chunk aged Parmesan cheese
2?3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
At least 1 hour before you plan to serve the salad, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, the shallots, celery seed, celery salt, anchovy paste, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place the celery in a mixing bowl and toss it with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. (Even though these ingredients are in the dressing, believe me— this step makes a difference.) 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.
When ready to serve, arrange the celery on a platter, shave the Parmesan onto the celery with a vegetable peeler, then sprinkle with walnuts, parsley leaves, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.