Celery gets top billing in this amped-up picnic classic. No back-up role this time. Ubiquitous and surprisingly healthy celery steps up with cool crisp texture and light aromatic flavour to balance the earthy potatoes. Tossed in lemony dressing they come together as an awesome way to fill Half Your Plate!
Yield: SERVES A PICNIC OF 8 TO 12
For the salad
2 pounds of celery, sliced
2 pounds of your favourite potatoes
4 large dill pickles, small diced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
a handful or three of fresh dill sprigs, chopped
For the dressing
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
the juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon of celery seed
1 tablespoon of Sriracha sauce or your favourite hot sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
Dice the unpeeled potatoes into bite-sized pieces and simmer in lots of lightly salted boiling water. Cook until just barely tender, about 15 minutes, then drain well. Spread out on a baking sheet and rest until cool, just a few minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss together the potatoes, celery, pickles, onion, dill and dressing until everything is evenly and deliciously coated.
© Chef Michael Smith – halfyourplate.ca
How To Twist
If your celery came with leaves, feel free to chop every one of them into the salad. They’re delicious! Freestyle? You bet. Many other vegetables easily dress up a classic potato salad. Try grated celery root, handfuls of fresh chives or green onions, handfuls of fresh basil leaves, grated carrots, roast garlic cloves, broccoli florets or your favourite baby greens. You can even swap sweet potato for white.
Bacon? You bet! Take 4 or 5 thick slices, thinly slice, crosswise and patiently cook in a sauté pan until crisp and delicious. Pour off none, some or all of the delicious fat. Whisk the rest into the dressing with the delicious brown bits.
One of my all time favourite ways to enjoy ripe tomatoes is in a chilly bowl of puréed gazpacho soup. Normally raw ripe tomatoes are the base for the soup but since the local tomato season is so fleeting you can concentrate and brighten their flavours any time of the year by roasting them first!
One of the best ways to fill Half Your Plate (and all of your soup bowl) is with a simple pureed soup. They’re a time-honoured and super-simple way to get a whole lot of vegetable flavour on the table in a hurry – maybe even hide vegetables from finicky eaters. This one was custom created by Honourable Dipika Damerla with Chef Michael Smith’s coaching!