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 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 MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes with Chef Michael Smith’s coaching!
Pumpkins are not just for carving into pretty faces they’re vegetables, so you can eat them too! As members of the squash family they’re deliciously versatile, inexpensive and packed with nutrients. Your best choice for cooking though are not the various jack-o-lantern varieties, they tend to be too big and bland. Instead, try this simple yet stunning idea with a few mini decorative pumpkins during harvest. With all this seasonal flavour they’re a great way to fill Half Your Plate!