This incredibly unique salad pairs crispy fried artichokes, tender massaged kale, roasted asparagus, and quick pickled celery with a creamy parmesan dressing. It's insanely delicious!
I've always wanted to travel for work, and so far this year, that has certainly been my reality. To me, traveling, even when it's to somewhere boring, for a short amount of time, and strictly for work purposes, is still exciting. I love people watching in airports and experiencing different parts of the world, especially when they're places I'd never travel to on vacation. I spent the better part of the last three months schlepping to and from airports and found myself in plenty of cities I would have never visited had I not ben forced to for work. Who knew Pittsburgh would be so charming?
Yet even though traveling - for work OR pleasure - can be exhilarating, it's also undoubtedly exhausting. We live a good 80 minutes from the Philadelphia airport, and having to make that drive, then park and shuttle to the terminal gets old real fast. Lucky for me, Chaser's been able (and willing) to drop me off for a lot of my trips, but there were a few times when his schedule just didn't allow. That's where my friend Andrea came in. Or should I say Handrea, which is what we now call her, since she fell in the shower and broke her hand a few months ago. (lol, it still cracks me up that you injured yourself this way, you goon. Your life alert gets installed next week. But also, I'm so glad you're okay!).
Andrea works as a hair stylist, so naturally, the injury put her out of work for several weeks. And over those several weeks, she got bored. Real bored. But no one is ever so bored that they want to drive 80 minutes to pick someone up from the airport. So when I asked for the favor, I knew I'd have to include an especially enticing bribe: Pizza.
For years, Andrea's been gushing about Pizzeria Stella in Philly, and in particular, the Tartufo pizza with black truffle, fontina and a fried egg on top. We'd been talking about taking a trip up to eat there forever. My flight was arriving just around dinner time, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go. Before I could even finish saying the words "Tartufo pizza," Andrea was gassing up her Jeep and asking for my flight number.
I avoided airport snacking as I dreamed about that thin crust, earthy truffles, and runny yolk. By the time the plane touched down, my stomach was growling. Obnoxiously. Andrea scooped me up, we successfully avoided traffic, and plopped ourselves down at Stella without even having to wait for a table. It was like they knew we were coming. We ordered a carafe of wine and perused the menu, even though we already knew which pizzas we were going to get.
But then, a salad description caught our eye. And when one sees an appealing salad on a menu of mostly pizza, one should order that salad. So we did. And hot damn. The tartufo pizza was obviously slammin', but this salad totally stole the show. And that is really saying something. It takes a hell of a salad to upstage pizza.
Flash fried artichoke hearts, baby kale, pickled celery and a garlicky, creamy parmesan dressing. It was so unique, so interesting and so delicious, I couldn't wait to make it at home. This is my version of that dreamy salad. I used kale from the garden, improvised the dressing and added a little roasted asparagus, mainly because I had some leftover, but also because I just can't seem to get enough of it this time of year. Plus, it just felt right. And it tasted right, too.
This salad may be a little more time consuming to make than other salads, but boy is it worth it. The artichokes are fried to golden, crispy perfection. The kale is earthy and substantial. The pickled celery gives a bright punch and juicy crunch. The asparagus is sweet and meaty, and the dressing is cool and creamy. Bookmark this one for a rainy day, put on your favorite podcast, and get to work in the kitchen. Or, make it easy and just head to Pizzeria Stella in the lovely little neighborhood of Society Hill (and definitely don't sleep on that Tartufo pie, either).
One Year Ago: My Favorite Grilled CheesePrint
Fried Artichoke, Kale + Asparagus Salad with Pickled Celery + Creamy Parmesan Dressing
This incredibly unique salad pairs crispy fried artichokes, tender massaged kale, roasted asparagus, and quick pickled celery with a creamy parmesan dressing. It's insanely delicious! Adapted from Pizzeria Stella.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: salad
- Method: mixed
- Cuisine: Italian
For the Pickled Celery
- 1 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced on a bias
For the Asparagus
- ½ bunch asparagus, tough ends removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 large clove garlic, finely minced (I grated it on the same microplane I used to zest the lemon)
- 1 small bunch chives, minced, about 1 heaping tablespoon
- ½ cup grated good quality parmesan cheese, such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Artichokes
- 1 12 ounce bag frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 bunch kale, any variety, tough stems removed and roughly chopped*
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Pickle the Celery
- Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a small saucepan and bring up to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the celery to a bowl and pour the liquid over top. Let sit in the refrigerator while you prepare the other ingredients.
Make the Asparagus
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, or until browned and tender, but still al dente. Alternatively, you can grill the asparagus instead. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chop into 1 inch pieces and set aside.
Make the Dressing
- Add mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, garlic, chives and parmesan cheese to a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
Fry the Artichokes
- Drain the artichokes in a colander, then spread out on towels and pat very dry. You may need to squeeze them and press down to remove as much liquid as possible. This is an important step, as any excess liquid going into the hot oil will cause dangerous splatters. Heat about 1 inch of olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet or saucepan with big sides until very hot (about 375 degrees). Add the artichokes in batches and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, and season with salt while they're still piping hot.
Assemble the Salad
- Place the kale in large salad bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Use your hands to aggressively massage the kale to break it down into softer pieces, about 2 minutes. Drain the celery well and use some paper towels to pat off any excess pickling liquid - too much will make the salad too tangy. Add the celery to the kale along with the asparagus and half of the artichoke hearts. Toss the salad with enough dressing to coat. Arrange on a platter or individual plates and top with the remaining artichokes. Serve immediately.
- *You can substitute a container of baby kale, but skip the step of drizzling with olive oil and massaging.
- **For a VEGAN variation of this salad, simply omit the parmesan and use vegan mayonnaise.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 400
- Sugar: 3.2 g
- Sodium: 3374.5 mg
- Fat: 35.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.1 g
- Protein: 7.9 g
- Cholesterol: 18.8 mg
Keywords: kale, asparagus, artichokes, celery, salad, fried, pickled, roasted, massaged, spring
Funny, my husband took the kids to Pizzeria Stella on Sunday. Said it was great. This salad looks fantastic!
Thanks, Marci! What's even funnier is my friend Andrea was at Pizzeria Stella yesterday, too!!
Love this salad!
Well, this one made me laugh out loud on this dreary day. I guess I should have guessed that you would know my neighbor and her guy - makes some sense with the professions. You and Andrea are both creative and the guys are both - nuts? Who in their right mind runs INTO a burning building? But we are sooooo pleased that they moved in next door 'cause they have done great things with the property and we're thrilled to know them. (although some of the surf stuff that Lt. T does makes me think that he might really be crazy. I mean seriously, who paddles a mile out to sea on a long board with his fishing tackle and catches a 35 pound striper? Trust me - I have the photo! Are all firemen crazy?) Hey! I LOVE the look of this salad - I am not a fan of simple, boring lettuce salads for (or with) dinner and have always preferred complex composed dishes like this one. If I can get my hands on some 'chokes this is getting made next week. The dressing before that - it is going on our kale salad tonight. Thanks and ciao.
Haha! Tim IS nuts, but then again so am I. I want him to take me out on my board this summer and teach me how to fish off of it. Or he can just go, and I'll stick to cooking the fish. Next time I'm over there, we'll have to have a drink!
This is definitely not a "last minute, put together" kind of salad... but I think I'm going to have to make it. It has all the ingredients that I LOVE!!! And I just made mayonnaise! Mmmmm.... Hey Bruno... LOVE your post, too!! Who, in their right mind, would go out on a long board that far is right!!! I got stuck in the bay on a longboard when the wind changed and it took forever to get back to shore... no thanks! hehe!
Joy - I love that you actually made mayo! No one does that anymore! In our restaurant we made our own specialty mayo for special occasions but not that often. Before the restaurant I worked for a company where we made 10,000 gallons of mayo a day for the food service industry. Now I simply use Hellman's. I've gotten old and lazy. But I did make Coley's dressing for our kale salad tonight (sans Artichokes). I tasted the dressing and it was crazy good and I don't use mayo for a dressing base very often but this one is a keeper. Dinner in 30 minutes. I think it is going to be terrific. And the pickled celery is a great concept.
Yay! I'm so glad you made the dressing for your kale salad tonight and loved it! It's definitely versatile. When you get a chance to make it with the fried artichokes, definitely do it. They're like the best croutons you've ever had!
Hey Bruno... if you make mayonnaise the way I do... you'll never use Hellman's again. It's done in less than 2 minutes if you have an emersion blender and the cup that goes with it. Here's the recipe... 8oz. of light olive oil in the measuring cup; into that crack in one egg; add about 1 Tbs lemon juice (about a half lemon, depending on the size); about a tsp. dijon mustard;salt & pepper... Starting from the bottom, start your "boat motor" and keep it there, slowly going up to the top (REALLY slowly-it should take you about 30 seconds or so). Tip the cup if you need to get the olive oil on top down to the bottom. Voila! Whatever you don't use, put in the fridge and it will keep fresh for about 7-10 days. Variations... add herbs and or roasted garlic and you've got yourself one special beginning for a dressing or sandwich!
Nope, definitely not a last minute thing. BUT, totally worth it!! Pro tip: fry a double batch of artichokes because you won't be able to stop snacking on them!