Marinated Celery Salad With Chickpeas and Parmesan
Celery is an underappreciated vegetable that brings wonderful crunch, perfume and bitterness to a salad (and no wonder: It’s related to carrots, parsley and fennel). Here it is front and center in a main-dish salad, especially satisfying with a poached egg or some charcuterie on the side. Buy full green heads of celery, not the pale hearts, and make sure the leaves are still attached. But if you can’t find celery with leaves, chopped parsley is a reasonable substitute.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 3tablespoons sherry vinegar, more as needed
- 1tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- ⅓cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 4cups cooked or canned chickpeas
- 4large or 6 small celery stalks, trimmed (reserve the leaves) and cut into large julienne
- 2large scallions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced on a diagonal, or 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1to 2 cups loosely packed celery leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1pint small tomatoes, halved
- ¼cup loosely packed basil leaves, rolled and julienned
- 2ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, coarsely grated, or crumbled feta
- 1small loaf (or 1/2 large loaf) day-old, peasant-style crusty bread
- Romaine or butterhead lettuce, endive or escarole, cut or torn into bite-size leaves
Step 1In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Drop in garlic cloves, stir, and set aside 15 to 30 minutes to let the flavor infuse.
Step 2Gradually whisk in oil; dressing will emulsify. Mix in chickpeas, celery and scallions. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Step 3Remove garlic cloves from dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil. Set aside to come to cool room temperature.
Step 4If desired, make croutons, for serving: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pull the soft bread out of the center of the loaf, leaving most of the crust behind, and tear bread into bite-size pieces. You should have about 3 cups. Spread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until golden and crisp; let cool.
Step 5Just before serving, mix celery leaves, tomatoes, basil and croutons, if using, into the salad. In a serving bowl, place a layer of greens, if using, in the bottom. Add celery mixture, then top with cheese and more black pepper.