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March 05, 2013

The Root of the Matter

Celery Root and Apple Salad
Everyone has a fantasy. While I don't want to distract you with all the exotic details, mine involves waking up in a luxury suite--in Paris--and breakfasting on buttery croissants and bubbly champagne. Then, when I'm sufficiently stuffed with buttery pastry and a little tipsy, I'll venture out to wander the streets of Paris where I'll do plenty of shoe shopping, eat several more pastries and undoubtedly, polish off more champagne.

I'm a Francophile through and through. Mostly that comes from having lived in New Orleans for a big part of my life, but also, I like the French style of things. The food really is simple and simple food is good food. The French also have an appreciation for old things--architecture, furniture and tradition. I like that they're proud of how old things are and value them for their age.

My friend, N, is turning 50 this year, but you wouldn't know it from looking at her beautiful face or being around her joyful spirit. We had lunch the other day and she told me that she always wanted to turn 50 in Paris, but instead, is going to mark that milestone on a beach in Costa Rica. Probably in a bikini. So, while she won't get Paris this year, I whipped up this classic French salad--but of course, I changed things up a little--so she could enjoy a bit of the Parisian life, even if it's just on the tip of her fork.

Celery Root and Apple Salad

1 Celery root, washed and peeled; cut into matchsticks
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled; cut into matchsticks
4 Celery ribs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup celery leaves, chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in water for 20 minutes and then drained
Champagne vinegar
Olive oil
salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, mix together the celery root, apple, celery, parsley, celery leaves and raisins.
2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Drizzle with the champagne vinegar and olive oil until lightly dressed.
4. Toss to coat.
5. Let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before serving.

*Celery root is in season from late October through March. It is a root vegetable native to the Mediterranean Basin and very popular in both France and Italy. In France, it is typically served as a Remoulade (cut into matchsticks and dressed with a seasoned mayo). It has a very mild taste, a mix of celery and parsley and is a bit nutty. It's also boiled with potatoes and made into a puree, or shredded and made into pancakes.

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