I happened across the most gorgeous leafy celery at the farmers’ market a few weeks ago and decided it was time to share this recipe with you. I’ve made this appetizer several times since I found it in Deb’s new cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Everyday.
The recipe caught my eye last winter because I love raw celery in salads. Vegetable platters have just about ruined celery for Americans, but it’s a different story in salads and the like. Celery is crisp, refreshing, affordable (buy organic, and it’s still affordable!), and keeps well.
Deb continued to reel me in with the mention of “Parmesan rubble.” You just take a fork to some Parmesan and break it into little pieces. Why didn’t I think of that? I had to try it, I love it, and it sounds like something cute from the Flintstone’s.
I’m ignoring the elephant in this recipe, which is the olives. You’ll definitely need to enjoy or at least tolerate olives to get behind this recipe. No getting around that.
However, when you add Parm rubble, celery, chopped toasted almonds, fresh garlic, vinegar and olive oil, the recipe becomes a lot more than a bowl of olives. It’s irresistibly briny, crisp, crunchy and fresh. Your friends are going to ask for the recipe.
- To make this recipe in a hurry, buy pre-pitted olives and tear them by hand into a few pieces. You can use jarred or canned green olives, or pick out your favorites at the olive bar at your grocery store. I’ve recently fallen in love with Castelvetrano olives, which are buttery, crisp and less salty than most.
- I almost always recommend buying raw nuts and roasting them yourself for the best flavor, but if you have a trustworthy source of tasty (unsalted!) roasted almonds, that would save you some trouble, too.
- Buy the freshest organic celery available, but don’t stress if it doesn’t have pretty leaves to add to the mix.
- This recipe has a mix of Mediterranean flavors and goes great with creamy hummus and crackers or toasted pita bread.
- Deb suggests that if you’re serving this at a party, prepare the olives/Parm/celery in larger pieces that guests can spear with toothpicks—I like that idea!
Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you, and check out Deb’s book. For a similar but lighter celery option, don’t miss this celery salad with dates, almonds and Parmesan.
Torn Olives with Almonds, Celery & Parmesan
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
This fun Mediterranean appetizer features briny green olives, crumbled Parmesan, crisp celery, and toasted almonds. Recipe yields about 2 cups, enough to serve 4 to 6.
- 2 cups (270 grams) large pitted green olives, drained and torn into bite-sized pieces*
- 1 cup diced celery (from 2 to 3 medium ribs)
- ½ cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped**
- 2 ounces Parmesan, crumbled with a fork or knife point into ½ cup rubble
- 1 large garlic clove, very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, more to taste
- Kosher salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
- Leaves from celery ribs, roughly chopped, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, toss all of the ingredients except the celery leaves together. Taste, and adjust the seasonings to your preference (I usually add a little more olive oil and vinegar, and about ¼ teaspoon kosher salt).
- Garnish with the chopped celery leaves. Refrigerate until needed, for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted just the tiniest bit from Smitten Kitchen Everyday by Deb Perelman.
*Deb’s notes: If you’re serving this as part of a cheese spread, keep the pieces chunky and offer toothpicks for serving. If it’s a first course, you can chop everything smaller and offer forks. (I like to chop it pretty small and serve it with hummus so people can pile it onto the hummus.)
**How to toast your almonds: I roasted whole almonds on a rimmed baking sheet for 12 to 14 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then chopped them.