Celery Caesar Salad
Makes 6 servings
Total Carbohydrates: 14 grams per serving
Hands-on Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
This salad is hugely popular around here, and for good reason: the celery is crunchy and flavorful; the chickpeas are crouton-ish but wholesome; the parmesan is perfection; and the dressing is absolutely lip-smacking. Can you omit the anchovies? Of course you can! But I’d encourage you not to. They’re not really noticeable in the dressing, but they add an intense umami flavor that is unique to themselves. Plus, if you like Caesar salad, you already like anchovies in your dressing. Note: if you’ve got a mandoline-style slicer you can make short work of cutting the celery. (This is my favorite https://amzn.to/3OeG9KY.)
If you’re looking to:
Lower the carbs: Skip the chickpeas; serve smaller portions.
Lower the fat: Use less oil to fry the chickpeas; skip the mayonnaise.
Lower the salt: Use less salt; skip the anchovies.
For the chickpea croutons:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and blotted dry on a double layer of paper towels
For the dressing:
The juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or put through a garlic press
4 anchovy filets
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
Black pepper (to taste)
For the salad:
1 bunch celery (or 2 celery “hearts”)
1 cup grated parmesan (ideally freshly grated)
Make the chickpea croutons: Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium heat until it is medium hot. Add the chickpeas in a single layer, salt them liberally, and leave them for a few minutes, unpestered by you and your spatula, so they can start to turn a bit golden on the bottom. Then start flipping and turning them every so often, shaking the pan around, until the chickpeas are as crisp and brown as they could be without burning. This will take 10-15 minutes. Let them cool while you make the rest of the salad.
Blend together all the dressing ingredients in a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle until the dressing is creamy and smooth. Absent any of these methods, you can chop the anchovy filets finely and whisk the ingredients together.
Trim off the tops from the celery bunch, then cut across the whole bunch to slice the celery stalks, along with all the leaves, into thin slivers. Use the whole thing, or measure around four cups of slices and leaves, and stop there.
Put the celery in a bowl, dress it with most of the dressing, then toss and taste. It will probably need the rest of the dressing and possibly a pinch of salt as well. Top with the parmesan and the chickpeas and serve right away.