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Today: We're pairing a snappy celery salad with Cambozola toast in hopes that you'll give this often-snubbed vegetable another chance.
There are a lot of reasons to dislike celery, with its metallic undercurrent and stingy plainness. Or to reject it altogether. I've read that Thomas Keller doesn't use it in any of his broths or stocks, snubbing the classic mirepoix. I admire such conviction; I get it.
But I'm a 70s kid. Celery was on every hors d'oeuvres table at every boozy party, on every Super Bowl spread, in every snack bag. I have a fondness for its crude snap, its genuine humbleness. I like it pickled. I like it with bagna cauda. I like it in tuna and chicken salad. And I like it braised. Hell, I even like it as the main event. At Prune, in New York City, Gabrielle Hamilton has served celery salad for years. There's not much to it, and I've sort of made up my version, which I hope does justice to hers. And she pairs the crunchy, rough-around-the-edges salad with a toast topped with a large slab of Cambozola. What could make for a better lunch, really?
Inspired by Prune in New York City
Serves 4 for lunch
5 celery stalks, sliced diagonally, 1/4-inch thick
5 radishes, cut into thin wedges
3 tablespoons parsley leaves, left mostly whole
2 scallions, sliced diagonally
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, smashed and chopped
Juice from half a lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 thick slices airy country bread, lightly toasted just before serving
4 thick slices Cambozola cheese or other mild, creamy blue cheese
Photos by James Ransom