The Asian celery and fennel salad in Joanne Chang's new cookbook, Flour, Too, isn't actually a recipe used in the bakery. Instead, the recipe comes from Myers+Chang: her southeast Asian diner in Boston's South End, co-owned with husband Christopher Myers. Still, the salad's bright dressing and playful mix of vegetables feel right at home alongside the bakery's staples. It's an easy dish to throw together (once you've candied the lemon to make the dressing, of course), and is pretty enough for a first course at a dinner party.
Why I picked this recipe: I may be one of the few, but I love celery salad. And celery salad amped up with a soy-sesame-sriracha dressing is even more my cup of tea.
What worked: This here is a striking salad—between the crisp vegetables, tangy-spicy dressing, and creamy edamame, each bite is new and exciting.
What didn't: The scale of the candied lemon recipe and the salad dressing recipe don't match up. (The lemon recipe makes 75 grams and the dressing recipe calls for 500 grams.) I missed this discrepancy when making the candied lemon, so I just went ahead and made the dressing with one batch. It seemed like plenty to me. You also won't need the entire bowl of dressing.
Suggested tweaks: Clearly, the amount of candied lemon can be tweaked. I'd also be interested to try this using candied lime instead of lemon. Chang says in the intro that the vegetables can be changed to suit the seasons or your taste. I'd add that choosing crisp, crunchy items would be the way to go (cucumbers instead of tender lettuce, for example).
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.