Celery and Fennel Salad with Medjool Dates and Parmesan Cheese

I am leaving today for Holland. At 4 pm actually and, as usual, I still have to pack my bag and get myself organized for the trip. Some things never change.

I will be back in just over a week but wanted to post a quick recipe and say goodbye. I am really excited for this journey. I will be visiting my sister, Lisa, who is teaching youth film classes in Rotterdam for half a year. She and her boyfriend Paolo, who usually teach in Los Angeles, have been in Holland for about six weeks. They have an apartment and have fallen in love with their neighbourhood and are enjoying the thriving cultural scene.

I am excited to see them and explore both Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the short time that I will have there.

I can’t think of a better way to be introduced to a new country, city, neighbourhood. Lisa and Paolo have been in Rotterdam long enough to know where to find the best bread and cheese, some lovely restaurants to eat in, art galleries and theatres and they even have a couple of bikes at their disposal.  I just can’t wait…

But, now, before I go I want to leave you with a wonderful winter salad. I actually have a bit of a thing for winter salads. This one in particular.

Unlike their summer counterparts that are almost always dominated by ripe, red tomatoes the winter salad is a more low key affair. Shades of pale green and white, accented by some jewel-like citrus fruit, dried fruits or toasted nuts, the winter salad is a thing of understated beauty.

Humble celery is the star of this salad. A vegetable that I feel is highly, highly underrated. In soup or braised in a bit of cream or simply sliced and tossed into a salad, I am a huge fan.  It is fed to children smeared with peanut butter or is arranged on a vegetable platter next to the Ranch dressing but is very rarely given a starring roll.

Here it is paired with some crisp fennel and tossed in a pomegranate vinaigrette. Yes, this is the same vinaigrette from the recent quinoa and pear salad but I am pretty smitten with this dressing these days and I think it truly works beautifully here.  Add in some lush Medjool dates, a hit of salty, nutty Parmesan cheese and some toasted pistachios and you have a salad that has character, crunch and can be enjoyed on it’s own for lunch or works beautifully alongside a grilled steak.

I will hopefully be posting some photos during my time away. I will absolutely be back in just over a week with some new Dutch inspired dishes!

Wish me luck with the plane ride, I am petrified to fly…

xo J

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6 Responses to Celery and Fennel Salad with Medjool Dates and Parmesan Cheese

  1. gail monteen bourne says:

    Wow—-Have a great trip….enjoy-enjoy-enjoy…the going and coming are only a small part of the fabulous time you will have..xoxo

  2. Leslie says:

    Soon you will be there…safe and sound.

  3. Dee G says:

    The title says celery and FENNEL salad, but I don’t see any fennel in the recipe…I loved the idea of combining those two and the vinaigrette looks delicious. Did the original recipe have fennel in it?

    Happy travels! I’m envious – would love to visit Holland and actually have a standing invitation from some folks who have stayed in our apartment and taken care of the cats, so it’s on my “to do” list. I look forward to your next posts about the trip.

    • Hi Dee,
      Wow, apparently I was really racing out the door and forgot the fennel! Thanks for the heads up, I have fixed the recipe. I used a big fennel bulb thinly sliced using a mandolin. It does give a lovely anise flavoured crunch to this salad. Also nice to garnish with some fennel fronds and some celery leaves.
      I have been here less in Rotterdam than a day but am really enjoying my visit so far. I took a long walk in the rain today to explore the neighbourhood and found a local market that promises to be a great source of cooking inspiration. Thanks for your good wishes!

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