Celery salad with pecorino cheese

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Celery salad with pecorino cheese

Spring at the market is a beautiful time to shop. There are many shades of green on display. This salad is as light and refreshing as its color. The quality of the lettuce and celery make all the difference.

But first, here is some follow-up to last week's bouillabaisse recipe. Maria Cobo, RN, a nurse consultant in Kaiser Permanente's Program Offices, shared the following advice from her grandmother. The suggested changes took the recipe from good to great.

She wrote, "My grandmother cooked the best 'Maestra de Mariscos,' the name Spaniards give to their Seafood Stew. She did not use coriander, instead, she used saffron. She also added green peppers cut in small 1/2 inch pieces, sautéed the peppers, added the tomatoes and let them simmer together for 15 minutes before adding the fish stock (home made, of course.)

I love 'Fish Stew' no matter what it is called. Just to give last week’s recipe another twist, I added one green pepper, omitted the coriander, and added 1 teaspoon saffron threads steeped in a little hot fish stock. These enhancements plus some mussels and sturgeon made for a wonderful seafood stew that accompanied this week's recipe.

This salad is quick, simple, and delicious.

Servings: 6 to 8


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 12 celery stalks, thinly sliced (If you want to get a little fancy, try slicing this way: place a few celery stalks at a time, flat edges down on the cutting board. Place the knife on the stalks at a 45-degree angle. "Shave" off slices with a more elegant shape than the usual.)
  • 1/4 pound wedge of pecorino cheese, shaved into thin slices.


  1. To make the dressing, whisk the first six ingredients together.
  2. In a bowl, salt and pepper the lettuce lightly and toss with about half of the dressing. Arrange the lettuce on chilled salad plates.
  3. Toss the celery with the remaining dressing.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, mound the celery in the center of the lettuce. Add any remaining dressing.
  5. Top with pecorino.