Celery, you guize!
Look, it’s so green! It’s also something I usually have no idea what to do with it when it arrives in my veggie box.
Probably because I used to hate it.
Celery was my most-despised vegetable growing up. I thought it was bitter and stringy and I absolutely could not understand why anyone would insist on ruining perfectly good food with its presence. My mother used to try to get me to eat it because of the allegedly magical weigh-loss effects it would have on my fat little body. But even in those days of self-loathing, I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, no matter what the promised effects.
I grew up and my tastes changed (both in food and the best way to deal with living in a fat-hating culture). I’d occasionally buy a stick of celery to put into pot of stock, or even a mirepoix. But it wasn’t until the last year or so that I’ve come to actually like the stuff (and even sometimes – shockingly! – crave it). It’s so deeply associated with diet-culture in my mind, and it’s hard to enjoy any sort of food if you’re eating it as punishment.
Anyway, a lovely bright green half of celery turned up in my veggie box, and since my freezer is full of as much stock as it can hold, I needed to find another way to use it. Also in my veggie box were some of the crispest, pinkest sweet-tart apples I’ve ever eaten. The solution was obvious.
I haven’t eaten a whole lot of Waldorf salads in my life (see above re childhood hatred of celery), and what few I have sampled tended to be drowned in overly sweet dressing. Don’t do that.
This salad is crisp and crunchy. It makes a lot of noise in your mouth. It’s sweet and juicy and tangy and nutty. It’s in-season. It’s refreshing. It’s surprisingly satisfying. I want more.
2 red apples (pink ladys are excellent)
3 stalks of celery
A couple of handfuls of walnut pieces
Half a bunch of parsley
Radicchio or other lettuce leaves (optional)
2-4 tblspns mayonaise (I used home-made aioli because I just happened to have some leftover, and the garlic was an excellent addition)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt & pepper
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar, shake vigorously, taste, season and set aside. You want the dressing to be tangy-but-creamy, thick-enough-to-coat-but-not-too-thick. You know, perfect.
Core the apples and chop into bite-sized pieces.
Finely slice the celery.
Chop the parsley.
Put them all into a bowl with the walnuts.
Pour over enough dressing to lightly coat everything without drowning it.
I hear the done thing is to serve this up on a bed of radicchio leaves, but I just ate it straight from the bowl. And it was delicious.