It was only a matter of time until the celery juice fad gained real traction and snowballed into a full fledged celery takeover. As a lover of the stalky, fibrous vegetable, I'm not surprised. I like the idea of such a humble food getting it's fifteen minutes of fame. The clean, salty, and elegant flavor is super dynamic with bold nuts and sweet fruit. Stalks are awkward, though. Do you cut them lengthwise for easier fork grip, or classically C-shaped? Do you keep the leaves or chuck them?* It's not hard to see why folks want to juice the thing and call it a day.
Luckily, the world is full of ingenious chefs who know how to properly care for it. Celery salads are stalking the menus of restaurants all over NYC. To check it out for herself, our CCO Connie Matisse hit the streets of New York with Bon Appétit's recipe genius and Senior Associate Food Editor Molly Baz, to sample some of the city's finest celery salads. This inspired a tasty and nostalgic salad recipe from Baz herself.
Ants on a Log Celery Salad
from Molly Baz
This recipe is essentially the adult version of the beloved childhood snack “Ants on a Log” with dates that sub in for raisins, and roasted peanuts which take the place of peanut butter. It’s sweet, salty, spicy, and acidic and the perfect foil for any number of roasty toasty proteins you could serve alongside it.
- 3 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- ½ tsp red pepper flake
- Kosher salt
- 10 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the bias
- 1 Granny Smith apple, core removed, thinly sliced into half moons
- ¾ cup roasted, salted, peanuts, crushed
- 1 cup packed mint leaves
- 1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise into rings
- 8 medjoul dates, pitted
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- In a large bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, honey, and red pepper flake. Slowly stream in olive oil, whisking constantly until well combined. Season dressing with salt.
- Add celery, apple slices, crushed peanuts and mint. If there are any celery leaves attached to the stalks, pick and add them as well.
- Rinse shallot rings under cold water to deflame their bite, then pat dry with paper towels and add to celery mixture. Tear dates into small bite sized pieces and add to bowl as well. Season with salt and toss everything with your hands until well combined and all elements are coated in dressing. Taste and add more salt if needed, it should taste sweet, sour, salty and spicy! Transfer to a large serving bowl.