So I am going to start this post by admitting that I am not a great celery fan. Not a fan of celery seeds either. But this salad converted me. The celery provides a crisp freshness to the lentils, toasted almonds and sauce which is rich with umami from anchovies and capers. I personally love anchovies but I know many folks do not agree. For a vegetarian version leave them off; you may want to add a splash of coconut aminos or soy sauce to the dressing to provide a similar lift. If you want to make the salad several hours ahead, just bring it back to room temperature before serving. Refrigerated leftovers were wonderful for lunch the next day, this time with some crumbled goat cheese on top. I think cottage cheese would also be good.
If your celery from the market has its leaves, use them in the salad. Otherwise chopped Italian parsley or baby arugula will work. I used a combination of all of those.
I served it at our first BBQ of the season with a buttermilk brined beer can chicken and crisp sourdough bread. It was perfect.
Celery and Lentil Salad with Salsa Verde
For salsa verde or vinaigrette:
- 3 anchovies, smashed and minced
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped
- 1 large lemon, finely grated zest and 3 tablespoons of juice
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup of green French lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 pinches kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 5 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (about 3 cups)
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups of chopped celery leaves, Italian parsley leaves, and/or baby arugula
- 1/3 cup toasted thinly sliced almonds
- 2 oz. shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese
- Toast the almonds in a small dry skillet until beginning to turn golden. Turn them out to a small plate to cool.
- Place lentils and bay leaf in a saucepan and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Keep the lentils covered by addition additional water if needed.
- Meanwhile make the salsa verde: combine the anchovies, shallots, capers, lemon zest and juice with a few pinches of salt in a small jar with a lid. Shake to combine and let sit for about 5 minutes for the flavors to meld. Then add the oil and shake to emulsify.
- When the lentils are done, drain them and discard the bay leaf. Return the lentils to the pan, add about 3 tablespoons of the salsa verde and the raisins. Let cool and then taste for seasoning. Add more salt and/or lemon juice if needed.
- In a large serving bowl, toss the celery and leaves with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette, red pepper flakes and salt if needed. Add the lentils and almonds, toss to mix. Taste again and add more of the vinaigrette, lemon juice or salt if required.
- Shave the pecorino or parmesan on top when serving.
- Can be served immediately or at room temperature.
This recipe comes from the Food52 site by EmilyC.
I’m taking this one to Fiesta Friday, a virtual blogging party hosted by Angie. The party is home to bloggers with recipe and craft ideas. It’s Fiesta Friday #379 and this would be wonderful served at your Mother’s Day BBQ. Please consider joining us and adding your own post to the party.