Sometimes life is weird. You go your entire life not knowing about something — in this case, celery salad — and suddenly celery salad is all around you.
True story: My friend and musical partner in crime Tim Macri made me an amazing celery salad for dinner last week between opera performances. I’d never had celery salad before so I was intrigued. His salad had crunchy celery, olives, and cheddar cheese. Good stuff.
The next day, I was flipping through a new cookbook and stumbled upon another recipe for celery salad. Weird. Suddenly, celery everywhere. This one had walnuts and parmesan cheese.
So, being the crafty sort of person that I am, I thought I’d just put the two recipes together and see what happened. What happened was awesomeness in a bowl.
Seriously, why haven’t I been eating celery salad my entire life? It’s so crisp, cool, and crunchy. Easy and delicious too.
Here’s what you need:
Celery, Walnuts, Pecorino Romano Cheese, Black Olives, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt & Pepper.
Nuts almost always have better flavor if you toast them for a few quick minutes in a pan or in the oven. Place 3/4 cup of walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat.
Keep an eye on these nuts. Now is not the time to go chase the cat or chat with the neighbor. In just a few minutes they can go from fragrant and toasty to burned to a crisp.
When they start to smell good and nutty, they’re done. Set them aside to cool. This should only take about 5 minutes at the most.
Make a quick vinaigrette by mixing 3 tablespoons of good olive oil with 2 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar.
I usually use a 2/1 oil to vinegar ratio for salad dressings but in this case a little extra kick from the vinegar is good to offset the nuts and cheese.
Extra cute bowl (and the one below) made by my friend Gary Rith, fabulous potter and enabler of my mixing bowl addiction. In addition to being a potter, he’s also a great cook. His recipe for veggie burritos is coming soon!
Add some freshly cracked black pepper and just a little salt (you can add more salt later…the olives and cheese are both quite salty) and give it a quick whisk to combine.
Wash and chop up a whole stalk of celery. Use the leaves too. They have really great flavor.
I used everything on the celery stalk except the few tiny inner leaves and yellowish stalks.
Pecorino Romano cheese is sharp and tangy and won’t break the bank like real, authentic Parmesan. You can either use the tip of a sharp knife to break off small chunks of cheese or cut it into thin strips and crumble the strips with your fingers. The strip/crumble method worked best for my cheese.
Chop the toasted walnuts into smaller pieces. Try not to pulverize the nuts into tiny bits…just a rough chop will do. You want enough nut to bite into it and recognize it as a walnut.
Put the celery, walnuts, crumbled Romano cheese, and 1 (2.25 oz) can of sliced black olives that have been drained into the bowl with the dressing. Toss together to combine all the flavors.
Taste and adjust the salt and pepper seasonings to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours for the best flavor. Great served cold or at room temperature.
Even better served in a cute cat bowl! Crazy Cat Lady Celery Salad.
Remember last year when I became addicted to broccoli slaw? Well, celery salad is my new favorite.
Put some serious crunch into your day. Simple and delicious!
Here’s the recipe: