For anyone who has the Six Seasons cookbook or follows Joshua McFadden, this salad should look familiar. He has heavily influenced our love affair with celery and this salad is undoubtedly adapted from his work. It is simple, bright, and beautiful, yet satiating enough to standup as an autumn or winter salad.
½ a bunch of celery~4 stalks, leaves reserved and roughly chopped (~1/2 cup celery leaves)
½ red onion
1/2 tsp aleppo or ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp sumac (optional, but delicious!)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vin
½ cup almonds, toasted and chopped or toasted sesame seeds (start with ¼ cup if using sesame seeds)
½ cup mint leaves
1 tsp salt, plus more
Trim the leaves off the celery stalks and roughly chop, set aside. Slice remaining celery stalks on a sharp angle in thin slices and add to a large bowl. Thinly slice red onion, core apple and thinly slice and add to bowl. Toss with apple cider vinegar and salt to keep from browning and to let the red onion marinate a bit while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Pit and slice dates into about 8 pieces each. Add to the bowl to allow these to soak up the vinegar as well. Add celery leaves, aleppo or red pepper flakes, and sumac if using. Taste the salad, it should taste bright and wonderfully tangy from the vinegar. If not, add a splash more vinegar and a good pinch of salt. Add olive oil and toss. Sprinkle with almonds or sesame seeds, mint leaves and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
The salad would probably taste wonderful with the addition of thinly shaved pecorino romano, but is just as lovely without.