Celery Salad with Blood Orange Supremes, Toasted Hazelnut

Savory Recipes, Winter • 4 Mar 2013

February sings its demure farewell song; the sun’s filtered rays shine more resplendently, with more depth, more focus. Birds awaken, their warm, pink chirps flowing through the air like buoyantly wafting pollen. March is afoot! My bones feel the change, despite the air’s steadfast chill.

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Valiant and crisp, like the fresh, tenacious buds prematurely blooming on the tree outside my window, celery is proud and steadfast. It is a stately vegetable, tall and resolute, with a mischievous plume atop its pale green stalk. Raw celery is not universally adored, but to those who extol its virtues, it is refreshingly spare, thirst-quenching and when served raw in wintertime, a nod to yellow summer days and warm-weather feasting replete with naked vegetables and simplistic salads.

Celery

Though uncooked celery is much-maligned for its fibrous texture and conspicuously watery flavor, I make a salad of its flesh and bones. And despite a few pre-prandial doubts, the salad was viscerally bold and toothsome. Tall, slim and lithe, the creamy, soft green vegetable is tossed with sanguine, fleshy blood oranges, peppered with earthy toasted hazelnuts and a dapple of nutty Gruyere. Vinaigrette of nutty hazelnut oil and sweetly woody sherry vinegar lend a creamy roundness to the crisp, cold stalks.

Celery Salad 3

As we try to replenish our systems and rid our bodies and minds of winter’s emotional toll, it is important take comfort in simple pleasures.  Let the season’s stressors melt away, let late March’s lamb displace the lion. Let us wait for spring, bellies aflutter.

Celery Salad with Blood Orange Supremes, Toasted Hazelnut

1 bunch of celery, plus leaves (about 5 cups), thinly sliced
3/4 cup blood orange supremes
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil (or walnut oil)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon packed lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar such as Pedro Jimenez (or aged Balsamic vinegar)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 ounce finely shaved aged Gruyere plus 1 ounce shaved with a vegetable peeler

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for about 10-15 minutes until golden and fragrant. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Remove the skins and coarsely chop.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together hazelnut oil, olive oil, sherry vinegar, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

3. In a large bowl, combine the celery, oranges, hazelnuts and finely shaved Gruyere. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve immediately.

3 Responses

  1. Jess

    I never really cared for celery until I tried this salad. It was the perfect combination of crispy and sweet and tangy. I want more!!!

  2. Glad to be able to convert you!

  3. Mira

    If Jess likes it, it is the highest praise you can receive . I must try this soon. I love blood oranges and love celery !
    Toasted hazelnuts too- so delicious sounding.

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