Celery doesn’t get top billing very often—an understandable, but somewhat sad fact that makes this dish even more of a standout and conversation piece than it already is. The olive oil, lemon, dates, blue cheese, and almonds are so at home here, it will seem as though they made this dish without you —volunteering for it, and jumping into it, on their own while you were out doing something else. The Yiddish word “beshert,” comes to mind. “Meant to be.”
• This is delicious free-standing, as an appetizer, side dish, or after-entrée refresher.
• Use a very sharp knife — or possibly even a mandoline — to slice the celery super thin.
• This is a good opportunity to buy and taste a small amount of a blue cheese you might have been curious about. If you add the cheese sooner, it blends into the dressing. If you wait and then sprinkle it on top at serving, it will be more distinct.
• The cheese provides more than enough salt for the recipe. People can add some at the table, if they desire.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon light-colored honey
3 large stalks celery, very thinly sliced
4 to 6 dates, pitted and chopped
1 to 2 ounces high-quality blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup almonds, chopped and lightly toasted