In the intro to How Easy Is That? Ina Garten explains the importance of having a well stocked pantry, since there is nothing worse than having to run to the store in the middle of making dinner. But I have to say that keeping a few key ingredients on hand goes a bit further than that.
Case in point: this Celery Parmesan Salad. Celery, lemons, Parmesan, and anchovies are ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand, but I'd never thought of them as the base for a salad until I tried this one for myself. And now that I have, this refreshing dish will certainly be working its way into my weekly rotation.
Aside from a few pantry ingredients, all this salad really needs is an hour to sit in the fridge, so that the celery will crisp and absorb all of the wonderfully tangy flavors from the dressing. Pile the sliced celery on leaves of Bibb lettuce if you have them around (or don't, if it means an extra trip to the store), shave a few curls of Parmesan, top with toasted walnuts and parsley leaves, and you're finished! The bright acid, crunchy celery, toasty walnuts, and nutty, rich cheese are made for each other. It beats the pants off any boring old mixed green salad.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of How Easy Is That? to give away this week.
- 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.