Slivered Celery and Walnut Salad

May  5, 2014
0 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Joshua McFadden has a knack for vegetables. You can thank him for the widespread love of the kale salad, which stemmed from the version he created while chef de cuisine at Franny's in Brooklyn. Currently, he's at the helm of Ava Gene's and its little sister restaurant, Roman Candle, both in Portland. The salads and vegetables are some of my favorite dishes on both menus. At a recent visit to Roman Candle, the waitress sold us on a new vegetable dish they were serving composed of celery, anchovy, raisins, and walnuts. It was fantastic -- crispy, crunchy, salty, fresh, and nutty. The humblest of ingredients combined into something magical. I'm not certain how it's made at Roman Candle, but this is my version. Note: Celery is one of the "dirty dozen" fruits and vegetables for pesticide contamination, so please buy organic :-) —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

This impressive salad is an addictive mix of sweet, salty, and crunchy ingredients. Furthermore, hardlikearmour’s technique of soaking the celery in ice water provides some the crispest celery you’ve ever eaten. This dish comes together in no time at all and makes an often overlooked vegetable shine. You will be glad you made it! —Double Helping

What You'll Need
  • Raisin Anchovy Dressing
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2/3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salad
  • 1 head organic celery (about 12 to 15 stalks)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
  • Raisin anchovy dressing (recipe above)
  • Flaky sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Put all of the dressing ingredients in blender. Set aside to allow raisins to plump.
  2. Fill salad spinner bowl with ice water. Cut away 3/4-inch of the root end from the head of celery. Separate and thoroughly clean the stalks, saving the pale celery “heart” for another use. Cut stalks along the bias into thin slivers -- this should yield around 5 cups. Place the celery slivers into the salad spinner basket, then place the basket in the ice water. If you are going to eat the salad later, put the salad spinner in the refrigerator -- otherwise allow the celery to crisp for 10 to 15 minutes, then proceed.
  3. Blend dressing, scraping down the sides, until everything is thoroughly combined and no large raisin chunks remain.
  4. To complete the salad, drain the celery and spin to dry, starting and stopping the spinner several times to fling off as much water as possible. Combine the celery, walnuts, and raisins in a large bowl. Drizzle with about half of the dressing and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Toss to combine. Add more dressing if needed. Transfer to a serving dish, and garnish with black pepper and flaky salt. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • 10 Legs in the Kitchen
    10 Legs in the Kitchen
  • Aliwaks
  • mrslarkin
  • gingerroot
  • aargersi
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

19 Reviews

TSmith January 22, 2015
It's ok that I made this and ate the entire thing, right? Delicious. I'm already imagining all that I could do with that dressing.
Kara January 9, 2015
I made this but added a little honey, goat cheese crumbles, and sautéed beet stems. Even my husband loved it!
Lynn D. June 7, 2014
I just made this and thought it was delicious. I didn't have anchovy paste or anchovies, so I used Red Boat fish sauce. As I was making this I realized it was basically Waldorf salad made in an entirely new and sophisticated way.
10 L. May 26, 2014
This sounds perfect. I have made a wonderful salad with raw celery root (by accident) but this is so clever. Celery often gets overlooked as a star but has such an evocative flavor and delightful crunch.
Aliwaks May 23, 2014
I love everything in this salad.. book marking for when I can get celery at farmers.
mrslarkin May 9, 2014
Just made this for lunch. It is so delicious! Thanks for another great recipe hla.
hardlikearmour May 9, 2014
gingerroot May 8, 2014
This sounds absolutely amazing, hla! Can't wait to try it.
hardlikearmour May 8, 2014
Thank you! It's surprising to me how tasty celery can be.
aargersi May 6, 2014
LOVE! Great crisping trick on the celery, too.
hardlikearmour May 6, 2014
Thanks. The first time I had less than perfect celery, but it crisped up nicely in the ice bath. With perfectly fresh celery it's probably not necessary.
inpatskitchen May 6, 2014
hardlikearmour May 6, 2014
Thanks, ipk!
mrslarkin May 6, 2014
This sounds brilliant, hla! I can't wait to make it.
hardlikearmour May 6, 2014
Thank you, MrsL -- As usual my best ideas come from outside inspiration so I can barely take credit :-)
lapadia May 6, 2014
Agree with Emily and I love celery. Definitely trying this.
hardlikearmour May 6, 2014
Thanks, L! Let me know if you try it -- I think it is up your alley.
EmilyC May 6, 2014
Wow, this looks and sounds absolutely amazing. I'm definitely trying this.
hardlikearmour May 6, 2014
Thank you! I hope you give it a go. We just had the inspiration dish at Roman Candle a week ago, and I've already made the home version twice.