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Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.
They think I didn’t notice, but I saw my friends A and F skeptically eyeing my salad bowl as I madly chopped up my celery for Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Zingy Apple and Celery Salad. Comments were made about celery, and frankly they were not flattering. The last of the mint from my garden went into the bowl, and some more words were spoken. People, these were not dinner guests anticipating something delicious.
I suppose if one is not familiar with fiveandspice's recipes, one might be permitted to question this recipe. But I have cooked many of her dishes, and I know her to be as solid as the post season Cardinals.
The beauty of this salad is that you need not wash much and the only cutting involves apples and celery, and the rest of the time you’re shaking things: boxes of raisins, a bottle of your best olive oil, and a few other items.
I was unable to find ricotta salata in Washington -- something about a recall at Whole Foods and also some general lameness of the grocery stores -- so I substituted some feta cheese, and omitted the capers because I figured that was enough salt. F commented that she actually prefers feta to ricotta salata, and I sort of agree. She said this as she proclaimed her love for this salad, and you will too.
If you want to skip running around an entire city and enduring traffic circles and maybe at some point becoming very very sad in the cheese aisle and having people look at you, just use feta okay?
This salad has this incredible crunch, with a little bit of tart from the apple and tad of bite from the cheese, with this delightful hint of mint mixed in here -- a complex bowl of flavors that takes exactly five minutes to put together and makes you feel sort of healthy and good about yourself, even if you eat it with a slab of barbecue and a slice of corn pudding approximately as big as a throw pillow. Just, you know, for example.
This recipe serves 4
2 cups celery, thinly sliced (on a bit of a diagonal)
1 sweet-tart apple, such as Braeburn or Pink Lady, cored and cut into smallish chunks
2 tablespoons (heaping) golden raisins
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon good olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
3 tablespoons (generous Tbs.) crumbled ricotta salata (or other fresh, salty cheese)
Photo by Linda Xiao