Sorry, I Like Celery

October  5, 2021
1 Ratings
Photo by Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

All the flavors of a Caesar salad are here: garlic, anchovy, Parm, and olive oil, in quite outgoing proportions. The difference between this and a more textbook Caesar is not only that I’ve swapped out the romaine for fantastically crunchy celery, but also that this dressing is more of a free-flowing vinaigrette that coats every slice. Instead of croutons, there are tender, salty olives and vinegary peppers.

Reprinted from That Sounds So Good by Carla Lalli Music. Copyright © 2021 by Carla Lalli Music.Photographs copyright © 2021 by Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

This recipe was featured on our new cook-along podcast Play Me a Recipe. Listen as Carla Lalli Music makes her way through this recipe, offering insider tips, ingredient substitutions, and backstory along the way.

What You'll Need
  • 3 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 10 Castelvetrano olives
  • 6 Piparra peppers
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves and tender stems
  1. In a mortar and pestle or mini chopper, combine the anchovies and garlic with a big pinch of salt and many grinds of black pepper. Pulverize until a paste forms. (Alternatively, you can finely chop the anchovies and garlic together on a cutting board, then season with salt and black pepper and use the flat edge of the knife blade to smash the ingredients into a paste.)
  2. Scrape into a medium bowl and whisk in lemon juice, olive oil, and Aleppo pepper until combined. Taste and season with more salt and black pepper, if needed.
  3. Use the flat side of a chef’s knife to smash the olives and loosen the pits, then tear the flesh into 2 or 3 pieces (discard pits). Cut peppers in half lengthwise, then halve crosswise. Place the olives and peppers in a salad bowl.
  4. Trim the celery at both ends, then separate the bunch into individual stalks; wash and dry. Snap off the light green leaves from innermost stalks and set those aside. Cut the celery into very thin slices on a dramatic angle, then transfer to the bowl with the olives and peppers.
  5. Use a vegetable peeler to shave half the Parmigiano over. Add most of the dressing and toss with your hands to coat.
  6. Add the parsley and reserved celery leaves and toss gently to combine. Shave the other half of the Parm over, drizzle with dressing, and top with a few more grinds of black pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

3 Reviews

Mcarl999 September 27, 2022
This was so good! Like a celery caesar salad (which is what I Googled to find this recipe). Sent the recipe to my foodie friends, although it would have been fun to keep all to myself!
Joan S. June 20, 2022
I am glad I ran across this recipe. It sounds so good and I am looking forward to making it. I like the fact that the recipe call for the celery leaves too.
[email protected] October 25, 2021
I made this and really like it. It is so interesting and I haven't every made anything like this. Celery as the star?? crazy. I guess Ceasar style dressing is also the star, but its crunch, and the dressing, olives and peppers (I did banana peppers) are just so good. Actually, it was even better 1-2 days later. I will make again!!