My first recipe share of 2020 and I mean it had to be this beautiful green Celery and Fennel with Walnuts and Blue Cheese salad from my favourite cookbook release of 2019, Alison Roman’s Nothing Fancy. I’ve been working my way through her recipes and I have yet to find a single one dish that gave me the mehs. I love the casual approach she takes in this book to her recipes, a perfect balance of down right good flavours made “unfussy”. This plate is a great example of those feels. Simple ingredient like celery and creamy blue cheese combine with lemon juice make a dish that’s crunchy, creamy and tangy in 3 steps…3 STEPS!
This book is full of dishes for every season and everything in between. Just good shareable food that’s super approachable and demands an impromptu gathering with friends or a seriously tasty date night. Salty snacks and nibbles, side dishes galore, main events, desserts and drinks, she’s covered it all, and I guarantee it’s nothing like your regular round up. Not only that but the photography and recipe pictures are amazingly well done. Harsh light, vintage vibes that make you want to jump in and join the party!
Alison even provides some EAT WITH guidance in pairings for other recipes in the book, which I personally love. Whether you’re a newbie entertainer or a seasoned host it’s nice to have that little bit of direction. For this recipe, it is suggested that this celery and fennel with walnuts and blue cheese with go with her Tomatoes Dressed in Toasted Fennel and Anchovy (another thing I love, is the amount of anchovy embraced in this book) as well as her Swordfish with Crushed Olives and Oregano. How good does that sound? I know I will be gifting this book to all of the hosts I know whenever the opportunity comes up!
Celery and Fennel with Walnuts and Blue Cheese
Celery, Fennel and blue cheese crumbles with toasted walnuts make for the perfect balance of crisp and creamy salad from Alison Roman’s newest book, Nothing Fancy.
- Yield: 4 to 6
- 1/2 Cup toasted walnuts coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Celery stalks, with leaves, thinly sliced on the bias
- 1 Large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 Small shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 1/4 Cup olive oil, plus more as needed and for drizzling
- 1 1/2 Oz firm blue cheese, such as Bayley Hazen or Valdeon, on a mild stilton, thinly sliced or crumbled
- Toss the walnuts with a bit of olive oil so they are nicely coated, then season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Toss the celery stalks (reserve the leaves for garnish), fennel, shallot, and lemon juice in a large bowl: season with salt with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with enough lemon juice to make it very tangy.
- Transfer to a large serving platter or large shallow bowl and top with walnuts, cheese, celery leaves, and another drizzle of olive oil and plenty of pepper.