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Celery and Anchovy Salad

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 6
Celery and Anchovy Salad
(Los Angeles Times)
1

Separate the celery into stalks and wash them well, particularly the bottoms where the dirt loves to hide. Cut the celery into 2-inch matchsticks: Begin by cutting each stalk into 4-inch pieces. Cut each piece lengthwise into slender sticks. Gather a bunch of sticks together and cut them in half. Place the matchsticks in a bowl of ice water to freshen until you’re ready to use them.

2

If the anchovies are salt-cured, rinse them well under cold water until they are soft and pliable. Remove any large bones or fins.

3

To make the sauce in a mortar, pound the garlic and the salt to a smooth paste; this will take about a minute. Start with a lesser amount of garlic and then add more as necessary. Add the anchovies and pound them to a paste as well. Add the vinegar and stir with the pestle until it is smooth. Gradually add the olive oil, starting with a thin stream, stirring with the pestle, until the sauce is smooth. Add a grinding of pepper.

4

To make the sauce in a blender, puree the garlic, salt, anchovies and vinegar until smooth. With the blender running, gradually add the olive oil, starting with a thin stream, until the sauce is smooth. You may have to stop once or twice and scrape down the sides to make sure the sauce is thoroughly combined. Add a grinding of pepper.

5

Dip a celery stick in the sauce and taste it. If you think it needs more garlic, mince another clove with a knife and add it to the sauce, grinding with the pestle or pureeing with the blender until smooth.

6

Drain the celery sticks and pat them dry with a paper towel. Place them in a salad bowl and add the anchovy sauce, starting with 2 tablespoons. Toss well to distribute the sauce equally among the sticks. Taste and add more sauce as needed. Serve at room temperature.

The top limit of the garlic measure here is theoretical. You will certainly want to use at least a small clove to balance the brassiness of the anchovies, but as long as you’re going to be eating with friends, feel free to add as much as you want. I made it the last time with four whole cloves and my guests mopped up what little sauce remained with the bread.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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