Celery Root and Apple Salad
Insalata di Mele

serves: 6 servings

Here's another fine winter salad, pairing one of my favorite, underappreciated vegetables-celery root-with fresh apples. The mellow, tender cubes of cooked celery root and the crisp apple slices provide a delightful, unexpected combination of flavor and texture. To turn the salad into a light lunch, add a few slices of prosciutto and serve it with some crusty bread. A firm, crisp apple is what you want for salad, and fortunately there are many varieties in the market that have that essential crunch, with flavors ranging from sweet to tangy to tart. I like to use a few different apples, rather than just one type, for greater complexity of flavor and vivid color in the salad. In addition to the reliably crisp Granny Smith apple, I look for some of the old-time firm and tart apples, such as Gravenstein, Jonathan, and Rome, and a few newer strains, like Cameo, Gala, and Fuji.

ingredients
2 pound whole celery root, rinsed but not peeled
1 pound apples
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon German-style mustard
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

directions




Put the celery root in a large saucepan with cold water to cover, and heat to a boil. Lower the heat a bit, and simmer the celery root for about an hour or so, until cooked through and tender. As it cooks, keep the root submerged by weighting it with a plate or pot lid. When you can easily pierce the celery root with a skewer, drain it in a colander and cool.

To peel the celery root, scrape off the skin with the dull side of a paring knife, and cut out the bits of skin in the folds and any tough, knobby parts. Cut the celery root in half, and slice each half into thin half-moons; put these in the large bowl. (If the celery root is a bit fibrous, cut the slices into thin matchsticks.)

Rinse the apples well, but don't peel them. Slice them in half, through the stem and bottom ends, and cut out the seeds and cores. Slice the halves crosswise into half-moons, about 1/8 inch thick, add to the bowl, and gently toss the celery root and apple slices together.

For the Dressing: Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then whisk in the olive oil gradually, until smooth and emulsified. Pour the dressing over the celery root and apple, sprinkle the chives on top, and tumble to coat all the slices with dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.