Celery, endive and crab salad: a delicious way into a winter dinner party or Valentine's dinner for two

Celery, endive and crab salad

You're having friends over. You've planned your main course, and the nibbles over drinks for starters, and the dessert. But what, oh what, should you start with when everyone sits at the table? 

This time of year, it often comes down like this: For a main course, I'm making something rich or hearty – like a stew or braised meat or poultry, or a roast of some kind.  So to start, I want something light, but not inconsequential. It would be lovely if it could involve greens. A winter salad? 

This salad of celery, Belgian endives and radishes – with crab meat for a bit of luxury and lemony dressing to keep it fresh – is elegant, pretty and fresh: just the ticket. 

You can slice the radishes and celery in advance, so the salad comes together in no time flat when you're ready to dine. 

Or maybe you're cooking a Valentine's dinner for your sweetie? Make half a recipe, and serve it – with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc (maybe Sancerre!) – as a prelude to a steak or roast chicken. Sound good? Let's do it!