I’ve been a fan of raw mushrooms since I was a kid, so I’ve been happy to see them making a comeback at New York restaurants in the past few years. I’ve always liked their quiet but fresh flavor and their springy bounce. In this salad, the color palette—pale whites and browns—may leave something to be desired, but the gorgeous medley of textures and very complementary flavors makes up for it. This is an attractive one to serve for a dinner party.
This recipe is excerpted from the book Start Simple by Lukas Volger.
- To de-string the celery, make a small cut into the outer base end of the celery stalk, no more than 1⁄8-inch deep, and pull along the length of the stalk. If it’s a wide stalk, repeat, working around the outer edge, until no more strings are released. Using a mandoline, cut the celery and mushrooms into paper-thin shavings. In a large bowl, combine the celery and mushrooms and toss with the lemon juice, vinegar, and 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stir together the tahini and about 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. Don’t fret if it looks dry and lumpy; just keep stirring. The consistency should be about that of whipped cream cheese; adjust as needed by adding a bit more water or a bit more tahini. Season with a pinch of kosher salt, then using the back of a spoon, smear the mixture over your serving platter or bowl or divide it among 4 salad plates.
- Add the olive oil and parsley to the mushrooms and gently toss to combine, then pile on top of the tahini. Sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Serve immediately, making sure to scrape up the tahini smear along with the mushroom-celery salad. Eat within an hour or so, as the mushrooms start releasing liquid as the salad sits.
From the book START SIMPLE by Lukas Volger. Copyright © 2020 by Lukas Volger. Published on February 18, 2020 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission. Photos by Cara Howe.
Lukas Volger is the author of the forthcoming cookbook Start Simple and three other cookbooks, and the editorial director of the queer food journal Jarry. He lives in Brooklyn.