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How to showcase celery?

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"!

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  1. 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

      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.

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

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

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

              1. 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

                  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

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

                    1. 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. 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. 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

                            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

                              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

                                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

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

                            2. re: Carb Lover

                              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

                                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

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


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

                                    1. 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. 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

                                          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. 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. 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. 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.