Spring is the hardest thing to wait for. Not that patience in anything is really my strong suit, but I remember waiting out the last few weeks of winter as an excruciting exercise. No matter how much you love snow, and I’m not one who loves it very much at all, by March it’s not very fun any more. Too many cold mornings spent scraping the car and cold afternoons trying desperatedly to keep noses and ears warm as the wind whips down the street. New spring clothes are languishing in your closet and Mother Nature just does not give a damn. And then those first few glimpses of new green were enough to throw a party about.
What I had forgotten, until recently, is that early spring is something of a let down when you look at your plate. The temperatures are rising, bulbs are starting to bloom, but the only thing at the market is root vegetables; the same root vegetables you’ve been eating all winter. It gets to the point that you’ll try anything to get away from food that is roasted or braised or stewed. My mom reminded me of this while we chatting last week. I had just written about asparagus while she’s still stuck in a never ending winter. And while there’s nothing I can do to make winter end sooner I can at least offer something we both can enjoy. Spring has truly arrived in San Francisco full of strawberries and asparagus, but if it hasn’t yet gotten to where you live, this salad will make it feel a little bit closer.
Celery Apple and Fennel Salad
Makes about 4 servings or 2 dinner sized portions if you add some protein
4-5 stalks of celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal for longer slices (about 1.5 cups)
1 bulb fennel, halved, core removed, and thinly sliced (about 1 cup) plus fennel fronds, finely chopped (2-3 tbs)
1 apple, cored removed and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 tsp kosher salt
Juice of 1 lemon
About ¼ cup olive oil
Celery leaves (optional)
COMBINE celery, fennel, apple, and salt in a large bowl.
DRESS the salad with lemon juice and olive oil. Add a little at a time, then toss and taste until you have it the way you like it.
GARNISH with fennel fronds and celery leaves. Serve it immediately.
You could store it in the fridge for up to a few days but depending on the apples you use, they may go brown and mushy too quickly for you to save leftovers.