Friday, August 16, 2013

Celery Salad

This is another recipe I found when I was reading through Cook This Now by Melissa Clark.

I have always made a celery based stuffing for my turkeys.  I seems to use one or two stalks and then I have so much left over.  Fortunately, my grocery store frequently sells by the stalk, but I don't like to buy them often as they are frequently starting to wilt and I like to get the most fresh ingredients which means I can't buy just a stalk.  At the same time, I don't want to waste any food I buy and like to use as much of the item as I can.  If you have heard of the farm to table movement, they frequently use as much as possible of each item as well.  It is a good idea and if you are a more adventurous cook, you can make some really cool items from the leaf tops of beets or turnips or many vegetables.

At any rate this is a quick salad to put together.  Really the only two things that take time and relatively little of that are the roasting of the walnuts and the chopping of the celery.  This salad also convinced me to reintroduce walnuts into my cooking (though I am still not sold on them in baked goods).  You can also roast the walnuts on the stove top if you don't want to turn on the oven (though you might need more than one batch since you want the single layer).  You can also up the portions if you have more celery or more people.

Celery Salad

About 1.5 cups walnuts
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2- 3/4 teaspoon salt (try a flaky one for bigger chunks of flavor)
Black pepper to taste (I like a lot, but taste it and see how much you would like)
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
12 celery stalks, chopped finely (leaves and all)
Parmesan cheese to taste  (Good Quality - from a large round)

Toast the walnuts in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes, tossing in the middle.  Toast lightly until golden or aromatic.  Then chop into smaller pieces (or sometimes I break them into smaller pieces).  Whisk together the red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Combine the nuts, cheese and celery.  Toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar mixture.  Serves 6.
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