CELERY & FENNEL SALAD WITH PRESERVED LEMON
This is a fresh, clean and bright salad for the warmer months. It features preserved lemons which can be made at home or store bought.
At the end of this recipe there are directions for making preserved lemons at home.
1 Head of Celery Stalks and Leaves
1 Head Fennel
1 cup Castelvetrano Olives
1 pound Ricotta Salata, firm
½ cup Hazelnut, toasted
1 Tablespoon Fennel Pollen (optional)
¼ cup Microgreens such as Lemon Balm or Micro Cilantro
Prepare celery stalks by washing them and peeling away the outer layer. Cut the celery on a bias into thin ¼ inch thick slices (this can be done by hand or on a mandolin). Save all celery leaves and wash by plunging them into cold ice water.
Cut fennel in half and discard any bruised or discolored outer pieces. Using a sharp knife or mandolin cut fennel crosswise into thin slices and immediately plunge them into ice water.
If olives still have pits remove the pits and rough chop so that the olive is cut at least in half or into thirds.
Chop toasted hazelnuts finely.
To assemble salad: toss celery and fennel with salt to taste and a few tablespoons of the preserved lemon vinaigrette. Taste vegetables and adjust salt or vinaigrette.
Once season is adjusted transfer vegetables to a large plate spreading into a thin even layer throughout the plate, add any residual vinaigrette and juices on top.
Scatter about 3 tablespoons of olives onto the vegetables.
On the large hole of a box grater, grate a layer of the ricotta salata onto the salad.
Scatter 1 to 2 tablespoons of the chopped hazelnuts over the hazelnuts, and finish with celery leaves and any micro greens you may have available. Dusting the salad with fennel pollen is optional.
PRESERVED LEMON VINAIGRETTE
1/2 cup Preserved Lemon Liquid
Zest from 2 whole Preserved Lemons
1/2 cup Pomace Oil
2 Tablespoons Brine from Castelvetrano Olives
2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
1 sprig of Thyme
In a high speed blender put preserved lemon liquid, olive brine and white wine vinegar.
Cut the preserved lemons apart and carefully cut off all the pith (white part), add the equivalent of 2 whole lemons zest to the blender.
Turn on blender to a medium speed and slowly add the Olive Oil while blender is running.
Add thyme leaves and salt to taste.
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Scrub 3 to 5 lemon, enough to fit tightly in a medium jar which has a lid. Slice each lemon from the top leaving a half inch from the bottom, not cut. You will be almost cutting them in quarters but leaving them attached at one end.
Rub kosher salt over the cut surfaces, then reshape the fruit. Cover the bottom of the jar with more kosher salt. Fit all the lemons in the jar packing them as tightly as possible, breaking them apart if necessary. Sprinkle salt in between each layer.
Press lemons down to release their juices. Add the peppercorns and bay leaves to the jar and squeeze an additional lemon into the jar so that lemon juice covers everything.
Close the jar and let the lemons preserve at a cool room temperature out of sunlight. Shake the jar, tipping it upside down everyday for about 3 to 4 weeks. When the rinds are tender the lemons are finished and can be stored in the refrigerator.
To use, remove a piece of lemon and rinse under cold water.