The first year in my own home, I signed up to host Thanksgiving dinner for a fair-sized crowd, fourteen. Like all good guests, people offered to bring a dish, my sister the salad. But when she arrived, the salad had been completely forgotten, not left behind, mind you, forgotten -- we've laughed about it ever since. (Trust me, there's little that escapes my sister, so it's useful to have 'something' to hold over her. For. Life. 80K. For Life.) Ever since, salad rarely finds its way to Thanksgiving dinner, there are just sooo many other foods, we'll be back to lettuce soon enough.
Still, especially for small Thanksgiving gatherings, a salad can be a welcome respite from all the rich, plenteous food. I loved this salad and think it would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Think Crunch. Think Color. Think 'autumn flair'. Perhaps a Thanksgiving salad isn't optional after all.
CELERY, DATE & WALNUT SALAD
Time to table: 15 minutes
DRESSING (enough for 4)
1/2 a shallot, minced very fine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or any good vinegar
1 tablespoon good olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
SALAD (per SERVING)
1 - 2 ribs celery, sliced thin on the diagonal
1/4 - 1/2 of a date, sliced thin
2 - 3 toasted walnuts, chopped
2 - 3 shavings from good Parmesan
Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss with the salad ingredients. Serve alone or atop a bed of fresh arugula or other salad greens.
TO PREP AHEAD
DAY BEFORE Assemble dressing. Toast the walnuts.
MORNING OF Prep the celery and dates.
BEFORE DINNER Assemble salad ingredients, toss with dressing.
Use any good vinegar but sherry vinegar is definitely one of my favorites because it's smooth and sweet, while still completely vinegar.
No dates? Substitute golden raisins or another dried fruit. The dates do add sweetness so if you elect to skip the fruit entirely (or use one that's not so sweet), you might stir a teaspoon or two of maple syrup into the dressing.
For 12 servings, Food & Wine uses 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar, 2 tablespoons walnut oil and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, a 1:2 vinegar:oil mix. It may be the classic proportion but is rich-rich mixture for my taste. Do, of course, mix the dressing to your own taste.
~ Celery & Apple Salad ~
~ Classic Seven-Layer Salad ~
~ Festive Celery, Cauliflower & Apple Salad ~
~ Festive Holiday Salad from Kitchen Parade ~
~ more green salad recipes ~
~ Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes 2008 ~
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