Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Green Apple and Celery Salad with Walnuts and Mustard Vinaigrette

If you are looking for a light and crisp salad course for Thanksgiving, this Green Apple and Celery Salad with Walnuts and Mustard Vinaigrette is one to consider. The salad was published in Bon Appetit’s 2005 Thanksgiving issue. My sister made it for last year’s Thanksgiving feast.  I was a bit skeptical at first since I am not a big fan of raw celery in salad. Served over a bed of spring greens and paired with an onion tart, it made an elegant and delicious first course.

I made the salad this past weekend for my International Dinner Club's French-inspired meal,  following the recipe exactly except that I skipped peel the apples. Big hit!

Green Apple and Celery Salad with Walnuts and Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 5 teaspoons honey
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch celery with leaves
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, quartered and cored with each quarter cut into 2 wedges, then thinly sliced crosswise into triangle shapes
  • 3/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
  • Spring greens
  1. Whisk the first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  2. Trim the celery leaves and chop enough to measure 1 cup. Thinly slice the stalks on a deep diagonal. Place celery pieces in bowl of cold water. (Vinaigrette, celery leaves, and celery pieces can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)
  3. Drain the celery and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Combine the celery, celery leaves, apples, and walnuts in a large bowl.
  5. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve over spring greens.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes

The recipe makes a lot of the vinaigrette, but I am finding it handy to have around. I made the salad again last night and served it alongside the Chicken Tetrazzini. Crunchy apple and celery made a great contrast of texture and flavor with the creamy pasta casserole. Today for lunch, I made a quickie version of the salad with a quick chop of a stalk of celery, half an apple and a few walnuts, tossed with about a tablespoon of the vinaigrette. There is a lot of olive oil in that dressing, but I figure just a tablespoon of the dressing with a cup of fruit and vegetable is not a bad thing. I am guessing the vinaigrette will keep for a while, so I'm looking forward to taking variations on the salad in my brown bag for a week or two to come.

And I have a new appreciation for celery.

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