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How to showcase celery?

frenetica Sep 16, 2006 03:31 AM

I love celery and it is always providing the backbone to my soups and stews, popping up in mirepoix and so on...

I am looking for a good way to feature it and I'm stuck. What recipe *stars* celery? Don't say "ants on a log"!

  1. Divamac Sep 20, 2006 06:40 PM

    My mother used to make creamed celery for my dad - none of us kids would touch it. It was something she learned to make when they were first married because she couldn't cook and it was my dad's favorite side dish. I believe it was celery sauteed in butter in a milk gravy. It was beautiful to look at, but tasted like, well, celery, which I hated as a kid.

    1. Aromatherapy Sep 20, 2006 04:16 PM

      Pasted from a reply to a previous thread:
      An old Marcella Hazan book (the first, I think) has a very involved recipe for celery that involves, IIRC, sauteeing in butter, poaching in beef stock, draining, topping with butter & parmesan, broiling. I'm sure I've forgotten a step or two, because I long since dumbed it down (don't tell!) to simmering in stock, draining, buttering & cheesing, broiling. It's very mildly flavored and everybody likes it.

      I like celery sliced very thin with various vinaigrettes, especially mustard, and also with soy sauce/vinegar/sesame oil (pressed tofu optional). The thinner you slice it the less aggressive the flavor. Also nice julienned.

      1. c
        chris011001 Sep 20, 2006 04:08 PM

        You could cook it like cardoons, meaning peel off all the stringy outside, cook it in some stock and then flour it and fry it. delicious.
        or, take all of the leaves and stir them into mashed potatoes with butter. a great dish.
        or, you could make a risotto. a classic way to highlight an ingredient.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chris011001
          frenetica Sep 20, 2006 06:24 PM

          Risotto! Interesting - must try.

        2. seefood Sep 20, 2006 04:08 PM

          The September 3, 2006 New York Times Magazine has a nice article on this topic. It's subtitled "Celery and its even-less-loved cousins finally break out of the crisper drawer." The author laments the fact that "celery tends to be treated like the vermouth in a martini . . . ."

          Since it's copyrighted, I won't post the whole article here; you can easily find it on the NYT website, although if you're not a subscriber you will likely have to pay for it. Of course, there's always the library. The article has recipes for Steamed Mussels with Lovage, Stir-Fried Celery in Meat Sauce (the meat is ground pork), and this:

          Celery, Watermelon and Cucmber Salad

          1 cup 1-inch pieces of peeled celery (I skipped the peeling part myself)
          2 cups 1-inch cubes of watermelon, without seeds
          1 cup 1-inch cubes of cucumber, peeled and seeded
          Interior leaves from celery heart, roughly chopped
          1/2 tsp. kosher salt
          Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
          3 oz. crumbled sheep's-milk (or other) feta cheese

          Combine everything except the feta in a bowl. Cover and chill in fridge 2 to 3 hours. Serve topped with feta. Serves 4 as a side dish.

          1 Reply
          1. re: seefood
            frenetica Sep 20, 2006 06:21 PM

            Ooh, can't believe I missed that article. Stir-fried celery with pork sounds about right - one of my favourite ways to use celery is fried in a dry pasta "tossing" sauce with little morsels of sweet Italian sausage; somehow the fennel seed works amazingly with the celery.

          2. m
            mattrapp Sep 20, 2006 02:00 PM

            Toss it with olive oil,garlic, salt and cracked pepper and grill it. When you take it off of the grill put it in a covered dish to "steam" for about 5 minutes before you serve it. Attractive and tasty!

            1. Katie Nell Sep 20, 2006 01:58 PM

              This recipe for shrimp salad from Barefoot Contessa highlights celery very well, I think. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~patl/shrimp...

              1. TexasToast Sep 20, 2006 11:34 AM

                I like it best just raw, dipped in home-made guacamole. Why mess with that?


                1 Reply
                1. re: TexasToast
                  frenetica Sep 20, 2006 06:25 PM

                  Too much green!

                2. frenetica Sep 20, 2006 11:29 AM

                  What is Celery Victor?

                  1. d
                    dantheculinaryman Sep 18, 2006 03:36 PM

                    San Domenico in New York makes a cold celery soup.
                    Put celery, shallots and water in a pan and cook until very tender. Puree in a blender, pass it through a strainer. Do not puree with all of the water. Hold much of it back to adjust the thickness of the soup. Salt it to taste. They served it with fried balls of gorgonzola cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. It is very refreshing. Do not use stock, it muddies the flavor.
                    The gorgonzola balls are made by forming balls and breading them in cornstarch, egg, crumbs.

                    You could also make a gratinée.

                    1. Carb Lover Sep 17, 2006 04:36 AM

                      You're right, celery should be given more of a spotlight in dishes. While I've never tried it, I've seen a number of recipes for celery gratin that sound good.

                      Zuni Cafe also does an appetizer of sliced celery, anchovies, Nicoise olives, and parmesan and the flavors really work well together. I am inclined to rework this into a salad w/ sliced celery, olives, chopped parsley, and a Caesar-style dressing.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Carb Lover
                        Melanie Wong Sep 17, 2006 06:21 AM

                        I've actually had the dish (plus parmesan shavings) you imagine at a restaurant that's no longer with us. What was interesting about the way the celery was sliced is that it was cut into long thin strips rather than cross-cut. Then it must have been put in ice water to curl. Very nice salad.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          Carb Lover Sep 17, 2006 02:50 PM

                          Interesting...sounds like a riff on Italian puntarelle salad. What an unexpected way to encounter celery. I may have to try this...

                          I like to cut celery into long, thin strips on the bias instead of the short half moons.

                          1. re: Carb Lover
                            JudiAU Sep 17, 2006 03:17 PM

                            I make a salad that is a riff on a classic caesar with lots of very thinly sliced celery and coarse endive with a lemon-anchovy dressing and shaved parmasean. Wonderful with grilled meat.

                            It is a very similiar flavor to the Zuni composed selection and also to the puntarelle salad served sometimes at Olivetto at Oakland.

                            I also love braised celery.

                            1. re: JudiAU
                              Melanie Wong Sep 17, 2006 08:50 PM

                              Don't forget Celery Victor, a San Francisco classic.

                        2. re: Carb Lover
                          Katie Nell Sep 20, 2006 01:56 PM

                          I made the braised celery dish from All About Braising, but mine didn't come out very well... the celery was very chewy, which I don't think was the outcome that it was supposed to be.

                          1. re: Katie Nell
                            Carb Lover Sep 20, 2006 02:25 PM

                            That's too bad. How long is it braised for? Did you peel/destring the stalks?

                            Marcella has a braised celery and potato dish in Essentials, but I haven't tried it. This link has the recipe, but I think it's an adaptation and not the exact one:

                            Have you received your Essentials book yet?!

                            1. re: Carb Lover
                              Katie Nell Sep 20, 2006 02:47 PM

                              I can't remember for sure- maybe 45 minutes? And I did peel the stalks, so I don't know.

                              And no, I haven't tried it yet! I'm a bad Chowhounder! I am for sure going to try the meatloaf and braised carrots, probably this weekend! Some of the simple pasta sauces are appealing too- the onion one and the rosemary and beef bouillon one. I've had my Kitchenaid pasta attachments since June and have yet to take them out of the box, so I need to get on it!

                        3. p
                          piccola Sep 17, 2006 04:05 AM

                          I came up with this when I wanted a clean-tasting sidedish but was out of fennel...

                          Shaved celery salad
                          6-8 stalks of celery
                          1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
                          lemon juice

                          Slice celery thinly with a mandoline. Toss with other ingredients. Chill 15 mins.

                          1. s
                            sloppyjoe Sep 17, 2006 03:51 AM

                            Braise it, baby! Richard Olney's advice is to strip off the outer stalks and give the hearts a nice long cook (1.5-2 hours) in gelatinous veal stock or "reduced pot-au-feu or poul-au-pot bouillon." Now, who doesn't have some of that kicking around!? By the end, the braising juices should be reduced to a "clinging syrup." Don't forget to blanch!

                            1. m
                              MuppetGrrl Sep 17, 2006 03:07 AM

                              I love tuna salad with extra-big bits of celery in it.

                              1. kivarita Sep 17, 2006 02:40 AM

                                Well if you want to go retro-modern, there's the cousin of ants on a log -- cream cheese mixed w/ chopped black olives on a celery stick...makes some people cringe, but it's a tradition in my family. 'Course, I also used to eat cream cheese on Saltines.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kivarita
                                  emmie Sep 20, 2006 06:55 PM

                                  mmmmm, we always did cream cheese mixed with italian dressing and topped with paprika....it really shouldn't be as tasty as it was....

                                  1. re: kivarita
                                    Katie Nell Sep 20, 2006 07:07 PM

                                    Ever since I saw this recipe on Easy Entertaining, I've been wanting to try it... http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...
                                    I submitted "Ants on a Log" to my kindergarten cookbook!

                                  2. HillJ Sep 17, 2006 01:59 AM

                                    Have you tried cooked shrimp skewered to celery stalks with a bit of cocktail sauce or ginger/soy dressing?

                                    1. j
                                      jordana Sep 16, 2006 02:53 PM

                                      I love celery. When ever i make a crudite i only use celery and olives. Very thinly cut celery with the leaves still on that served in a long shallow dish with crushed ice and any kind of live that you like. Its very simple and delicious.

                                      1. a
                                        ashwood Sep 16, 2006 06:04 AM

                                        anything where it's texture show up- that's the primary virtue of celery. it's good as braised veg, with carrots and pearl onions, served with some sort of roasted or braised meat.... after lightly sweating, browning if you can, cook them in the liquid from whatever meat you're serving. if you want you could use all celery.

                                        1. Melanie Wong Sep 16, 2006 06:00 AM

                                          A lovely partner with seafood in a stir-fry. One of my favorites is scallops, lots of celery, and toasted pine nuts.

                                          1. Veggietales Sep 16, 2006 05:51 AM

                                            The celery can sometimes be a star... in a good bloody mary :-)

                                            1. Das Ubergeek Sep 16, 2006 05:41 AM

                                              Cream of celery soup... made from scratch, natch.

                                              Celery soda (steep celery ribs, seed and leaves in simple syrup, then refrigerate and mix with soda water).

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                Katie Nell Sep 20, 2006 01:55 PM

                                                Yes, definitely cream of celery soup... seriously amazing! I made a recipe last Thanksgiving for our "Not Your Typical Thanksgiving" and of course, now I can't find the recipe online! I'll look when I get home tonight and see if I can't find it.

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