"Celery is a vegetable people either love or hate, and we try to get people to love all their vegetables," says chef Amanda Cohen of New York City's Dirt Candy. She sets off celery's bitterness and crunch with meaty oyster mushrooms and grapes that have been grilled until almost bursting.
More Vegetable Dishes
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup roasted almond oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup tender celery leaves (from one head)
1/4 cup salted roasted almonds, chopped
1 pound king oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
2 cups green grapes (12 ounces)
2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated
2 cups very thinly sliced celery
How to Make It
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar with the lemon juice, celery seeds, mustard and half of the garlic. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the almond oil until emulsified. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
In a mini food processor, combine the remaining garlic with the parsley, celery leaves and almonds and pulse until finely chopped. Add another 1/4 cup of the olive oil and puree to a chunky paste. Season the pesto with salt and pepper.
Light a grill. Brush the mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until tender and browned, about 5 minutes. In a bowl, toss the grapes with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until the skins begin to blacken in spots, about 3 minutes; line the grill with perforated foil if the grapes will fall through. Transfer the grapes and mushrooms to a large bowl and toss with the pesto.
Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter and drizzle with half of the dressing. Spoon the mushroom-and-grape salad onto the lettuce. Toss the celery with the remaining dressing, spoon it on top and serve.
The dressing and pesto can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days.
Kölsch, a very light German style of beer, is steely and floral; it's a nice match for this multi-flavored salad. Try the Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Kölsch from Texas. Or pour a light-bodied white wine, such as a Soave.
Pairing Note Not all wines and beers are vegan (that is, made without using products such as gelatin). For details, contact the producers directly.
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