Shaved Celery and Fennel Salad with Pickled Grapes

The earthiness and sweetness from the grapes and their pickling liquid round out the brightness in the celery salad. The dressing immediately pools over the goat cheese, making for a perfectly sweet, salty, and tangy bite.

Shaved Celery and Fennel Salad with Pickled Grapes Recipe
Photo: Marcus Nilsson
Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 40 mins


  • 2 cups seeded wine grapes or sweet table grapes

  • 1 cup muscat vinegar (such as Delouis Fils) or sherry vinegar

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 2 bunches celery hearts

  • 2 fennel bulbs, fronds reserved

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), divided

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

  • 1 (8-ounce) goat cheese log, softened

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed peppery greens (such as mizuna or dandelion greens)

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh shiso leaves or basil leaves, roughly torn (optional)


  1. Place grapes in a small heatproof bowl. Stir together muscat vinegar, sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high, and cook, whisking often, until sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour vinegar mixture over grapes. Refrigerate, uncovered, until pickled, about 4 hours. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons grape pickling liquid.

  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Remove celery leaves from stalks; reserve leaves for garnish. Peel stalks, and cut in half crosswise. Using a mandoline, slice stalks lengthwise into thin strips; place strips in bowl of ice water.

  3. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise; remove and discard core. Cut bulb into wedges, and thinly slice on mandoline. Place in ice bath with celery.

  4. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, pepper, reserved grape pickling liquid, and remaining 11/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a medium bowl. Set dressing aside.

  5. Drain celery and fennel; transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Pat completely dry. Gently toss together celery, fennel, and dressing.

  6. To serve, spread goat cheese evenly across a serving platter or divide among 8 salad plates, and sprinkle evenly with lemon zest. Top evenly with celery-fennel salad, pickled grapes, peppery greens, celery leaves, fennel fronds, and, if using, shiso leaves. Serve immediately.

Make Ahead

Grapes can be pickled up to 3 days ahead of time.


Wine grapes are available from and can be substituted with Champagne grapes, muscadines, or any sweet table grape. Look for fresh shiso in the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores.

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