LESLIE BUDEWITZ: A food-loving friend gave me a short stack of cooking magazines last summer, and when I finally flipped through them, this winter, I found myself drooling and ripping out pages. (I started to write “dripping,” and that works, doesn’t it?)
This Celery Salad with Feta and Eggs seems to have originated in Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More, a celebration of vegetables, and then been adapted for Weight Watchers magazine. I’ve adapted it again, changing the white onion to red, increasing the feta and decreasing the lemon, and changing how the eggs are cooked. It’s trendy these days to top an otherwise-perfectly lovely dish with a fried or poached egg, but I am not a fan of runny, yellow goo. If you are, go ahead and soft-boil your eggs. If you’re in my camp, hard-boil them. (We'll call them Sam Spade eggs. Or Marlowe eggs.)
We ended up with leftover vegetables, which held for several days in our fridge. We served the last bits over mixed greens, without eggs, and loved that combination, too.
It's a self-dressing salad, which is fun. Another benefit is that the dish isn’t dependent on seasonal veggies—it’s perfectly possible to get decent celery, peppers, lemons, and herbs all year round, even in smaller towns off the beaten track.
Celery Salad with Feta and Eggs8 celery stalks, sliced 1/4" thick, cut on the diagonal (about 4 cups)
2 green bell peppers, cored and seeded, sliced julienne (1/4" thick) and cut in half lengthwise
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon white sugar (superfine, if you have it)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup celery leaves, chopped
½ cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
4 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon green chiles, seeded and finely chopped (jarred or fresh peppers work equally well)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup feta, cut or crumbled
Place celery, peppers, and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and salt. Mix well and set aside for 30 minutes to soften the vegetables and draw out some of the juices, which will combine with the other ingredients for a dressing.
If you prefer hard-boiled eggs, start them now. Place the eggs in a pan of cool water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Place the eggs in a colander and run cold water over them 2-3 times to stop the cooking, then allow them to cool enough to peel and slice. If you prefer soft-boiled eggs, wait until the rest of the salad is ready. Boil a pot of water, and carefully spoon in the eggs, simmering 5-6 minutes. Remove carefully and rinse with cold water, then peel for serving.
Trim the ends off the lemons and cut them in half. Over a bowl, to catch the juice, cut the membranes between the segments to remove the individual segments.
To serve, arrange the salad on individual plates. Add a few chunks of feta and an egg, sliced if hard-cooked, cut in half if soft-cooked. Finish with a few additional drops of olive oil and black pepper. Serve immediately.
From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON:
Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.
Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…
Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.
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