Celery Salad with Pecorino Romano

August 29, 2010

Aunt Suzy says

If you like celery, olive oil and a salad with crunch, this is a salad for you!  When we purchased shallots at the Madison, Wisconsin farmer’s market recently to make Braised Chicken in Shallot-Mustard Sauce, I remembered this recipe.  I was delighted to see celery grown by one of my favorite local vendors, Loon Organics at our farmers market the following weekend.  When I brought the celery home, Randy was doubtful because we have had bad past experiences with locally grown celery sold at our co-op.  But this looked good so I perservered, and we loved the resulting salad.  The celery was much more flavorful than that grown in California, not to mention that it is local and organic.  (Celery is near the top of the Dirty Dozen list of pesticide laden produce only second to apples.)  Even if you don’t think you would like an entire salad featuring celery, I encourage you to try this refreshing option.

12 celery ribs, thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 shallot, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small head of red or green leaf lettuce, leaves torn into bit-size pieces

One 4-ounce piece of pecorino romano cheese

Place the sliced celery into a medium bowl filled with water and ice and let soak for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 until very crisp.  Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice together in a medium bowl.  Add the chopped shallot and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with 3 tablespoons of the dressing.  Transfer to a platter or individual serving plates.  Drain the sliced celery from the ice-water bath and dry thoroughly in a towel or with paper towels.  Add the celery to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat.  Using a slotted spoon, scatter the celery over the lettuce.  Shred the cheese on the large holes of a box grater and scatter over the salad.  Drizzle all with the dressing that remains from the celery mixture.  Note:  we did not use as much cheese as called for, thinking less is more in this case!

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