In a citrusy zeal, I recently bought a boatload of lemons. I don't think you can ever have enough of them, but I might have finally found a limit of reason. Suffice it to say that I needed to use some up so decided to make some quick preserved lemons this morning. As they were doing their thing I started thinking about lunch. My youngest son -he'll be 3 on St. Patty's Day- and I eat a lunch salad together every day. It's the loveliest tradition, and he'll try anything if it's in there.
Today I decided to use the preserved lemons in the salad dressing; rather than our usual vinaigrette, I combined the chopped lemons with Greek yogurt, crème fraîche and celery seed. Oliver was extremely skeptical at first but ultimately decided that yogurt dressing was just as tasty as regular dressing. It sauced a glorious spring salad of celery, radish, zucchini, shallots, pecans and dried cherries, and what I thought was wonderfully nice about this salad, in addition to it just being really darn good, was that each flavor stood on its own- bright, crisp and, well, springy.
There's not a bit left! —em-i-lis
For the preserved lemon dressing (this also makes a fabulous dip for crudite or the like)
rounds of sliced preserved lemon, chopped finely
preserved lemon juice
salt and pepper to season
For the salad
stalks celery with leaves, washed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
green Luobo radish or another radish with good crunch and not too much bite, mandolined into paper-thin rounds
small zucchini, washed, trimmed and mandolined into paper-thin rounds
medium shallot, sliced into thin rings
pecan halves, crumbled if you like
dried cherries, coarsely chopped
In This Recipe
Make the dressing by combining the preserved lemon, juice, yogurt, crème fraîche and celery seed in a small bowl, stirring to combine well. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
Make the salad by tossing together the celery, celery leaves, radish, zucchini, shallot, pecans and cherries.
Add about 3/4 of the dressing and toss to combine. Add more dressing if you like, or enjoy the remainder by dipping your fingers in it and licking it off, as we did.