I started eating this salad a few months ago and I have not been able to stop. It is a terrific spring time salad because it uses all the brave and tough little vegetable that you can find at the end of winter. I have continued to enjoy it as a summer salad also, since all of those same vegetables are nice and cooling in this heat. It has an amazing topping made from toasted hazelnuts, black peppercorns and celery seeds, that I want to put on top of everything. The original recipe included mustard and shallots in the salad dressing. I feel that those flavours overpower the clean, cooling properties of the vegetables, so I just use olive oil and vinegar with a bit of maple syrup, salt and pepper for the dressing. I think that a few snips of fresh chives would be nice though. If you find my dressing too bland just add the shallots and or mustard back in!
RADISH, FENNEL, CELERY SALAD WITH HAZELNUTS
adapted from Food 52
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 4 stalks of celery
- 6 radishes
- 1 head butter or boston lettuce
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- olive oil
- vinegar (I use raspberry or sherry vinegar)
- maple syrup
- salt and pepper
- a few snips of fresh chives (optional)
- minced shallots (optional)
- dijon mustard (optional)
- Rinse and dry the lettuce leaves.
- Core the fennel and trim the radishes and celery. Shave or slice all of the vegetables as thin as you can.
- Gently pull the lettuce leaves apart and divide them into individual bowls topped with the thinly sliced vegetables. I also sometimes like to leave the lettuce leaves whole so that I can use them to scoop up the other vegetables with my hands. Salad (well all food, but especially salad) always tastes better to me if I eat it with my fingers….but that may just be me being an only partially tamed critter. I really need to spend some time living in a culture where people eat with their hands!
- Heat a small skillet and dry roast the hazelnuts until they are toasted and remove them from the pan. Add the peppercorns and celery seeds to the pan and remove from the heat. Toss the spices until they are fragrant.
- Crush the toasted spices with the coarse salt until they are coarsely ground. Add the hazelnuts and crush them lightly to halve them.
- Make a salad dressing with a splash each of oil and vinegar, just a drop of maple syrup and salt and pepper to taste. If you are using shallots or mustard throw that into the dressing as well.
- Drizzle the salad with the dressing and sprinkle with the spiced nut mixture and some fresh chives before serving.
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