That weird time between winter and spring
Yeah, I would say right now definitely qualifies as that weird time between winter and spring. Especially since winter is not acting like winter and is sometimes acting like spring. Except when it’s acting like winter. It’s weird.
The other uncool thing about this time of year is that we often crave fresh veggies and fruits. Except there are none. We’re over the rich autumnal flavors of root vegetables (except maybe potato and green onion soup and spicy parsnip cake) and ready for strawberries and asparagus and all that delicious yumminess. Except that strawberries and asparagus are at least two months away still. Boo.
So what’s a person to do when they’re craving a salad? Something crunchy and light-tasting, but substantially filling and tasty?
Apple and celery salad. Seriously people, it’s way better than you might think, even if you think you hate celery (I hate the strings that get stuck in your teeth, personally). The other cool thing is that you can use cold storage apples (which tend to get sweeter with storage in the fridge) and celery (which, like onions and carrots, doesn’t really have a season, per-se, unless you’re growing your own) so you don’t have to buy out-of-season tomatoes or strawberries or lettuces.
Another bonus? It doesn’t get all wilty and slimy like lettuce does if you make a ton and stick leftovers in the fridge. So here you are:
Apple Celery Salad
This was partially inspired by Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way, which includes a similar recipe. You could substitute chopped walnuts for almonds if you like or leave them out entirely. This is a great potluck or picnic salad as it can sit out at room temp indefinitely.
5+ small apples
4-6 stalks celery
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
Wash, core, and chop the apples into bite-sized pieces. Wash and trim the celery, then slice thinly. Toss the apples, celery, and sliced almonds together to combine. Make a vinaigrette of the walnut oil, apple cider vinegar, and dijon mustard. (I find the 3-2-1 ratio to be perfect, but you might need a little more dressing than that if you’ve got a lot of veggies.) Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss/fold/stir to coat. Eat immediately or chill for future use.
This salad, along with some bread and butter or crackers and cheese is what I’ve had for lunch for the past three days. And I’m not sick of it yet. It’s just so crunchy and fresh-tasting and none of the flavors really overwhelm the others. Well okay the apple is pretty prominent, but it doesn’t really taste like apple with celery by its side and the tangy vinaigrette coating. The almonds (you can’t say no to pre-sliced!) add a delicious nuttiness and a filling heartiness that the salad would otherwise lack. And what’s not to love about a salad you can eat with a spoon?
Do you have any recipes you use to cope with spring food fever before things are truly in season in your area?