I’ve been working on this recipe for a while and to be honest it’s been difficult to land on the right balance of ingredients primarily because I don’t like celery. You know when they gave out peanut butter slathered celery sticks in elementary school? I licked off the peanut butter like a proper Jiffy loving seven-year-old and then threw the stringy celery away. I accept this as an odd way to introduce a delightfully bright and crunchy winter salad that I think everyone should make (and eat!), but here we are, the real real. This is basically 1 of the 2 ways I like celery and therefore think I’ve stumbled into special territory.
With only six ingredients in this recipe I have to emphasize the importance of quality – freshly shave legit Parmigiano Reggiano with a vegetable peeler, use good lookin’ celery and dates should be super soft and plump. I think Trader Joe’s has a great option in their refrigerated section and nicer grocery stores will have dates in the produce section. It is important to purchase dates with the pit because they’ll be ripe and have more moisture. Even if you think celery is not your thing, give this salad a try, it will delight.
Foodie note: If the celery seems a bit stringy, give the stocks a quick zip with a vegetable peeler – it will reveal tender and delicate celery. If preparing in advance, cut celery and keep in the fridge up to a few hours, prepare the other ingredients and keep separate, combining everything just before serving.
Makes 2 servings
3/4 lb celery (including leaves)
5 dates (with pits)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Wash celery, trim bottom and top of stocks. If celery seems a bit stringy, see Foodie Note.
- Slice celery on the diagonal into 1/2″ pieces. Put celery into a medium sized bowl.
- Slice dates length-wise, remove the pit; cut each date lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips then horizontally 3 or 4 times, each date should be cut into chunks. Add dates to celery bowl.
- Add lemon juice, olive oil and black pepper to celery mixture; toss to coat with dressing. Add pine nuts and a few cracks of pepper, toss again.
- Using the vegetable peeler, shave Parmigiano onto the salad, toss lightly leaving a good dusting of cheese on the top. Serve immediately.