I made a meal today using only things that were in the house – a pantry dinner. Rifling through said panty – whose shelves are deep and stacked many layers deep – I knew there was bound to be a can (if not 2 or 10) of sardines. Sardines are great: tasty, convenient (when in a tin), cheap and one of the types of fish that is consistently on all the lists of “good” fish to eat, being neither over-fished nor filled with horrible pollutants. Much as I adore sardines, to my mind they require certain accompaniments: Something acidic (to balance their rich oiliness), something bright tasting (by which I guess I mean something of a fresh and vegetal nature, also to offset the rich oiliness), something crunchy (to offset the soft texture) and something starchy and neutral (to offset everything else). I usually like olives or pickles to take care of the acidic element, but as I had neither in the fridge – and since I was bound by what I had on hand – I set about making an astringent salad of celery root and apple. It was a riff on a recipe I saw today while leafing through Neue Cuisine, a cookbook by Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. Seemed a perfect way to prepare some of the cute little celery roots I had that were waiting to be used.

I did not par-boil them as his recipe said, but rather left them raw and let them sit in lemon juice for a few minutes to soften up a bit. Turns out it’s a winning combination, celery and apple. And with the addition of scallion and parley, it covered all the necessary bases as a perfect foil to sardines – crunchy, acidic and bright as a daisy. That, along with some steamed potatoes in their jacket with salt and parsley (the neutral element), and all was good.

Note: Quantities are variable, though I used fairly equal amounts of celery root and apple and the balance of textures was lovely.

Celery Root & Apple Salad (adapted from a recipe in Neue Cuisine) 2-3 servings

2 small celery root, peeled and diced small

juice of 1 small lemon

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

3 scallions, chopped fine

handful of flat parsley, chopped fine

salt and pepper to taste

1 apple, diced small (with peel, if desired)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Put diced celery root in a small bowl and add lemon juice and vinegar, toss to coat well. Let sit 10 minutes or more. Add remaining ingredients and toss well. Eat (sardines are optional).

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4 Responses to Sardines

  1. amanda says:

    yum. sardines rock! and that recipe looks to be just the counterpoint, as you say.

    • sonya says:

      i figured i could count on you to be a sardine lover, amanda! yup, the celery root salad is growing on me more + more, it’s kinda perfect.

  2. Tiffanie says:

    You had me at “sardine”, but the rest makes an amazing looking meal! I would love more full on, simple recipes from you, Sonya!

    I was hoping you caught this post the other day, I think it’s right up your alley! :)

    • sonya says:

      Tiffanie, Thanks. Ok, I’ll try to post more recipes! I did read your pepper post the other day – it was lovely and appetizing and the meal sounded amazing! I just left you a comment (I hadn’t commented before b/c I don’t care for peppers. But I realized I still loved *reading* about it!)

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