Passover Recipes: Fennel Celery Salad

This is as simple as it gets, but it’s better than the sum of its parts. In fact, given the amount of rich, heavy food we consume during Passover, this salad is a welcome reprieve at the seder table. It cleanses your palate while wetting your appetite for more traditional dishes to come: matzah ball soup, brisket, gefilte fish, potato kugel, or whatever your family traditionally serves. I’ve served this at many a dinner party (and a few seders) and it gets rave reviews every time. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do just fine.

Olga Massov blogs at The Sassy Radish. She was born in Russia, moved to Boston when she was 11, went to Pittsburgh for college, and lived in DC for one sweltering summer. She jokes that she’s a Russian expat by way of New England with Southern inclinations, but her love of pickles, lobster, and bourbon (though maybe not necessarily together) proves the point.

Now, she lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé, Andrew, a journalist, and a linebacker-sized tabby cat, Forrest Whittaker. After a decade in finance fiddling with spreadsheets while yearning to be a food writer full time, Olga decided to take the plunge. She is now working on co-authoring her first book, The Kimchi Cookbook, which will offer seasonally-driven kimchi recipes, as well as recipes using kimchi in cooking. The book will be published last week of November 2012 by Ten Speed Press..


1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin

2 celery ribs, shaved paper thin

Juice of 1 Meyer lemon or regular lemon

Extra virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Celery leaves, for garnish


On a large plate or platter, spread out the fennel slices. Layer the celery slices on top. Drizzle the lemon juice and the olive oil, and sprinkle some flaky sea salt and black pepper on top. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for 1 to 2 hours before serving. The salad gets better the longer it sits. Serve, garnished with celery leaves.