Possibly the world’s crunchiest salad, this employs a technique which gives you super-crisp celery. It’s indescribably good. I’ve combined it here with beautiful blood oranges and black olives for an enlivening winter side dish. It’ll make your taste buds tap dance.
The celery salad partners well with oily fish such as grilled mackerel, although we ate it with glazed gammon steaks and baby potatoes tossed with butter and parsley. It was a light, easy and flavourful midweek meal. And while our supper wasn’t vegetarian or vegan, the salad is and can be eaten as a side with any meal that would benefit from extra crunch.
You’ll need to prep the celery at least two hours before eating. The method for super-charging its crunch comes from Jane Grigson, whose Fruit and Vegetable books are a constant source of inspiration and when I am Dictator Of The World will be in every kitchen. Better get yours now.
Extra-crunchy Celery Salad
About 250g celery, preferably the inner stems
2 blood oranges (or other eating oranges)
A handful of black olives, pitted and halved
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
Twice its volume in extra virgin olive oil
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
Zest of 1/2 an orange
A good pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper
De-string the celery, if necessary, then cut into 5cm (2″) lengths. Slice these into slender matchsticks. Put them in a bowl, cover with cold water and add a double handful of ice cubes, then cover the top. Place in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. As Mrs Grigson says, the shreds will curl slightly and be marvellously crisp.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a lidded jar, shake to combine, check the seasoning and set aside.
Peel the oranges, being sure to remove all the pith, then slice out the segments with a sharp knife, leaving behind the membranes. Place in a bowl with the pitted and halved olives (I like the small, wrinkled, salty ones).
Drain the celery well: I use a colander followed by blotting in a clean tea towel. Mix with the remaining ingredients and dress with sufficient vinaigrette to coat. Eat straight away. Any leftover dressing is good with leafy salads or drizzled over green veg such as broccoli.