Thursday, January 27, 2011

Something Different

This time last year I was bestowing the virtues of the current issue of Fine Cooking. There w were many fabulous recipes and it was an issue that stayed in the kitchen for a long time. It's now dog eared and full of oil spotted pages. Well, they've done it again and the February/March issue is chock full of good stuff. One of my favorites is this Celery, Fennel and Black Olive Salad with Parmigiano Dressing. A perfect way to change up your winter veggie doldrums.

The "Big Buy" this month is Celery. Usually relegated to stock and Thanksgiving stuffing, using it as the star is something new. It's inexpensive and has satisfying crunch so why not? Be sure to purchase organic, since celery is on the Dirty Dozen list. Organic is only a bit more expensive and well worth it for your health, as well as the planet. Bonus-it takes more calories to digest it than are in it!

What else? Fennel is one of my favorite winter vegetables that adds bit of anise flavor and more fresh crunch. Try it if you never have. Oil cured black olives can be tricky to find in a jar so check the olive bar at your local grocery. They have a different texture than brined olives and provide a deep olive flavor.

Finally the Parmesan. Use only real Parmigiano-Reggiano and finely grate it yourself. Perfect reason to use your microplane.

Doug loved this salad. I felt sort of bad when I ate all the leftovers the next day.

Celery, Fennel, and Black Olive Salad with Parmigiano Dressing
Fine Cooking February/March

3 1/2 c. thinly sliced celery, sliced on the diagonal (use a mandoline if you have one)
1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (again-the mandoline)
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh flat-leaf parsley (I didn't have any so I skipped it but do include it)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2T. mayonnaise
1T. fresh lemon juice
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 anchovy fillet, minced (huge flavor booster, the paste in a tube is good in a pinch)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. oil cured black olives, pitted and chopped

In a large bowl, combine the celery, fennel, and parsley. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

In a small bowl, mix the Parmigiano, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, and anchovy (if using). Whisk in the oil until combined. Season to taste with fresh salt and pepper.

Toss the celery mixture with the dressing, fold in the olives and serve.

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