After seeing abundant celery stalks for a great price at the Greenmarket, I knew I had to make something with them. When I stumbled on this Celery, Date and Feta Salad I decided it was fate. Especially exciting was its use of celery leaves, which I usually throw away - embarrassingly wasteful but true, and delicious dates, my obsession since Spain.
As usual it seemed simple enough based on the ingredient list, the only part I read before shopping; it probably is if you are an expert at de-ribbing celery, something the recipe implies you can do with a knife. Maybe if you are a professional. Every time I worked a rib loose and started to pull the rib broke. Celery ribs are a little smaller in diameter than wax-coated dental floss and they don't stand up to tugging as well as dental floss does... I've never loved flossing and de-ribbing celery wasn't ranking much higher on my list of things I like to do.
My frustration led me to YouTube, thank God,where I waded through some videos and learned a quicker method. Basically, you take the stalk of celery and bend it in half with the curve facing away from you until you see the ribs pulling apart and it starts to snap. Then gently and firmly pull one half downward. This will pull out lots of the ribs at once! The results likely are not as pretty as the suggested mysterious knife method, but it gets the job done creating the curls on my cutting board pictured below.
This salad is a delicious salty-sweet mixture with lots of crunch thanks to the celery. It's too much work for everyday eating and it certainly doesn't hold up well for leftovers, but it would be fantastic for a meal with guests. Should I make it for guests, I will probably decrease the dressing's oil a bit as I'm not fond of my lips feeling slick after eating salad and reserve the feta to top each serving and improve the presentation. If I am overambitious, which happens all the time with food, and make it for myself again I'll remember to keep the dressing on the side and dress each portion when I plan to eat it.