Apple and Celery Salad with Toasted Seeds

This salad covers all the bases—sweet and salty, crisp and crunchy. Herbal. It’s a perfect throw-together dish when you don’t have much in the fridge beyond the usual—like apples and celery.  Substitute raisins or currants if you don’t have grapes.  Leave out the greens altogether if you like. Or chop up the bright-tasting celery leaves and toss them in (yes, they’re useful beyond being just compost additives or guinea pig fodder). Cubed fennel bulb and their feathery fronds would be a nice addition as well.

Pepita is the Spanish term for hulled pumpkin seeds.  You’ll find them packaged at Trader Joe’s.  Be sure to toast extra—they make a nutritious and addictive snack.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups cubed apple (sweet, or a mix of tart and sweet)
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup halved red grapes
  • 1 heaping cup chopped arugula
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Toast the pepitas in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently while cooking to turn the seeds and prevent them from burning. Toast until they are spotted with patches of golden-brown—this is what gives them their deep flavor and distinctive crunch.  Remove seeds from skillet and cool slightly.
  2. Toast mustard seeds and fennel seeds in the same skillet, until they become fragrant and fennel takes on a golden color—less than one minute.  Remove from heat.
  3. Combine three seeds, apple, celery, grapes, arugula, cilantro, walnut oil and vinegar.  Toss all the ingredients together to fully coat.  Season with salt to taste and toss again.

 

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