Celery, Fennel and Radish Salad With Lemon-Garlic Dressing
Crunchy, Fresh and With A Robust Vinaigrette
Adapted from a recipe by Gabrielle Hamilton that appeared in House Beautiful magazine.
- Servings: 4.
Winter isn't normally thought of as the season for our best salads. But chef Gabrielle Hamilton who consistently creates some of the most satisfying dishes you could ever want to eat at New York's Prune restaurant. That includes this crunchy, green salad that she recently shared in House Beautiful magazine.
Hamilton wrote that the origins of this salad, which now is included on her restaurant menu, came from the produce aisle of her local chain supermarket. I love recipes that have big flavor and don't have to cost a lot either in the price of ingredients or the time to find them. But I'm anticipating this salad's flavor will achieve a whole new level once it can be made with in-season, local scallions, celery and radishes, making it a year-round favorite.
Key to the success of this salad is that everything is cut into very thin slices. The celery and scallion are easy to cut with a chef's knife, but to get the fennel and radishes really thin, you need to use either a mandoline or a Japanese ceramic slicer. If you don't own a slicer they can cost less than $20 (mandolines cost more), take little room to store, and for salad lovers, can become one of your most-loved kitchen tools.
Another tip for this or any salad: these raw vegetables hold lots of water so if you add a salted dressing, such as this one, too far in advance, the salad will get watery. So dress it just before serving.
I made my dressing using a covered jar, giving it a thorough shaking just before serving. Because of the amount of grated garlic in the dressing, this works better than whisking or mixing with a fork. I also subsituted red wine vinegar for 2 tablelspoons of the lemon juice in Chef Hamilton's version of the dressing because it softens what I think is the all-lemon harshness, but it still stands up to the olive oil and garlic.
Chef Hamilton suggests serving this salad with toasted slices of baguette that have been buttered with unsalted butter and then spread with blue cheese, such as a Spanish Valderon, or as I used, a salty French Roquefort.
- 1 head of celery, tough outer stalks removed, well rinsed and completely dried
- 1 large head of fennel, stalks and fronds removed
- 6 to 8 scallions, root end and dark green portions of the stalks removed, as well as the outer layer of each scallion rubbed off
- 1 large or 2 medium bunches of red radishes, tops and tips removed, well washed and completely dried
- 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- With a sharp knife, slice the celery very thin (1/4") and add to a serving bowl, about 2 to 3 cups.
- Using a mandoline or ceramic slicer, slice the fennel and then the radishes, very thin (1/8" to 1/4"), and add to the serving bowl. About 4 cups in total.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the scallions on the bias into slivers and add to the serving bowl, about 1 cup.
- Toss to combine and set aside.
- Working over a large, at least 2-cup mixing cup, grate the garlic using a microplane rasper or press through a garlic press. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Pour into a glass jar with a lid and shake vigorously to combine.
- Immediately pour about 1/3 cup of the mixed dressing over the salad and toss well. Taste and add more dressing if needed but take care to not over-dress.
- Serve soon after dressing.