Adapted from A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus, by Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson (Sasquatch Books, 2014)
“Once you get past its intimidating appearance, celery root is lovely, with a delicious, green vegetal flavor that’s hard to come by in the dead of winter,” says Erickson, a Seattle-based chef and James Beard Award winner. This salad takes advantage of the funky, salty-sour flavor of preserved lemon to give the creamy dressing its complexity. Note: If your celery stalks don’t yield enough leaves, you can use flat-leaf parsley.
Prepare vinaigrette. Transfer to large bowl. Using sharp knife, peel celery root. Shave as thinly as possible, using a knife or mandolin. Add root shavings to vinaigrette as you slice to prevent browning. Make sure each piece has dressing and spread slice apart evenly in the bowl if clumping occurs. When celery root has been thoroughly dressed, stir in ⅜ cup walnuts. Crush walnuts slightly with hands while adding to bowl.
Transfer mixture to platter. Top with the remaining walnuts, celery leaves, poppy seed, and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4.
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
In blender or food processor, purée peel, crème fraîche, juice and shallot. While food processor is running, add olive oil in slow, steady stream until smooth and creamy. Salt to taste.
*Preserved lemon is widely available in specialty stores and Middle Eastern groceries
Stemmari 2015 Grillo (Sicilia); 89 points, $10, Best Buy
This racy white wine offers lemon zest, sage, saline and nutty notes that echo the preserved lemon, celery leaf and walnut in the salad. Vibrant acidity brings out the sweeter side of the celery root and pomegranate seeds.