A few months back, a dear old friend of mine, Camille Styles, sent me an email to let me know she was coming up to Seattle, and would I possibly be interested in putting together a dinner party for her blog? I didn’t hesitate to say yes to the opportunity to jump into the roll of of hostess after literal years of not really hosting parties in the way that I used to.
I immediately dug into my stack of cookbooks and travel memories to come up with an Italian dinner in the way I like to do it – family style, not too fussy, dishes that can sit out all evening and be eaten at leisure. The result along with several recipes is up today on Camille’s site – you can find it right here – and I decided to also share one of my favorite recipes from the shoot with you all here too!
This dish combines some of my favorite flavor profiles – salty, crunchy, and refreshing at the same time. It’s a lovely little snack, a topper for fresh bread or toast, and of course simply delightful on its own as a side dish too. I adapted this recipe from “Piatti” by Stacy Adimando, a wonderful cookbook for those looking for authentic Italian dishes beyond pasta.
Castelvetrano Olive & Celery Salad // serves 6-8
- 3 1/2 cups pitted Castelvetrano Olives – sliced in half
- 8-10 inner celery stalks with their leaves, sliced on the diagonal (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
Stacy’s recipe insists that unpitted olives are the best for this recipe – but in a time crunch pitted and ready to slice olives will do just fine, which is what I did here. Slice them in half, and put in a bowl. Next, take the inner stalks from a celery bunch, slice them diagonally, including the leaves, and add them to the bowl.
While you can add the dressing right on top of the salad, if you are prepping ahead of time, just make it in a small jar like I did, and when you’re ready to serve, add at the last minute. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and give it a good stir to evenly distribute all the flavors. For the record, I upped the garlic (like a true Italian) a bit.
As this dish sits it gets even better – the juices combining to create an addictive crunchy little salad.
Styled by Cassandra LaValle. Photography by Michelle Nash for Camille Styles.