It feels like spring today, which makes me fantasize about the yummiest salad I’ve eaten in ages. I was paging through the salon’s copy of House Beautiful a couple of weeks ago while some of my kids were having haircuts, and I stumbled upon this fresh and swoonful recipe. I made a mental note, and 24 hours later when I decided I absolutely had to make it, I had no luck finding the recipe online (it has since been uploaded). So off I went to try to track down the magazine, and luckily at my second stop, there was the lovely green cover of the March issue.
The recipe was provided by Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in NYC, and what captivated me was the color of most of the thinly sliced veggies: spring green, the breathtaking yellow-green shade of new leaves in the spring. The color has always symbolized new life and hopefulness after a long, dreary winter, and when I saw that the dish was described as “crunchy, buttery, and bright green,” I was all in.
The beauty of this recipe is that you’ve heard of all the ingredients, and they’re readily available in the produce department of your local supermarket. Nothing exotic, including the Valdeon, which is a mild blue cheese (feel free to substitute with something close if you can’t find this exact type). The only omission I made was the sugar snap peas; I’m not a huge fan, and I didn’t feel like putting in the effort to peel the seam threads. The dish was fantastic anyway.
So here’s to blue skies, the smiling sun, mild fresh air, daffodils poking through the dirt, and springing forward this weekend!
Celery, Fennel & Radish Salad with Buttered Valdeon Toasts
By Chef Gabrielle Hamilton
For the salad
- 1 head of celery, tough outer stalks removed, well rinsed
- 2 medium heads of fennel, stalks and fronds removed
- 2 bunches of scallions, approximately 15 pieces, root end removed and first outer layer peeled off with your fingers
- ⅓ pound sugar snap peas, stem end removed and the thread at the seam peeled
- 2 bunches of red radishes, tops removed and well washed
For the dressing
- 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the toasts
- 4 long slices of fresh baguette
- 2 ounces sweet butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces Valdeon cheese, crumbled or shaved
1. With a sharp knife, thinly slice the celery and the fennel and toss together.
2. Sliver the scallions and sugar snap peas on the bias and add to the fennel and celery.
3. With a sharp knife or mandoline, thinly slice the radishes and add to the salad.
4. Grate the garlic on a microplane, or mince well.
5. Mix together the garlic, oil, and lemon juice and dress the salad.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Let stand.
7. Toast the baguette slices and spread each with a half-ounce of the butter.
8. Divide the cheese among the four buttered toasts.
9. Toss and taste the salad again before plating; add salt if necessary. Serve with the Valdeon toasts.