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Story - Food

Mar 2, 2017 3:45 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Celery Is The Star Of These Recipes

Braised hearts of celery. JANEEN A. SARLIN
Mar 6, 2017 10:22 AM

Prior to the 16th century, celery was considered a medicinal herb, not a food. Perhaps that explains why celery has been relegated to a supporting role in stuffing, salads and casseroles. But here in these recipes it commands the lead.

Five stalks of celery weigh in at about 20 calories and contain a good amount of fiber, vitamin A and calcium. Celery is high in potassium, natural sodium and folic acid, and combined with the fiber it helps with dental hygiene, cleanses your palate, and improves overall health. Try this fresh celery slaw tonight.

French chefs have long considered braised celery an excellent side to serve with roasted meats. For more depth of flavor I added leeks to the classic dish.

Celery soup is rich and creamy from roasting the vegetables first, but there’s no cream in the ingredients. It’s an excellent starter course for sit-down dinner and can be served cold this summer.

Bon appétit!

Roasted Celery Soup
(Serves 6)

1 bunch celery, washed, trimmed and chopped

1 small head fennel, trimmed and chopped

4 to 5 cloves garlic, with skin

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon thyme

1 large onion, sliced

1 boiling potato, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

About 2 quarts good quality chicken stock, hot

Few pinches celery seeds for garnish

Celery leaves for garnish

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line two baking pans with parchment paper and drizzle with oil.

Place celery in a bowl, drizzle with oil, and season with salt, pepper, and thyme, toss and scatter the slices on the pan.

Add fennel and garlic to the bowl, add oil, seasonings to taste and scatter them on the other pan.

Roast, stirring every now and then, until the vegetables are browned and tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a stockpot over moderate heat, coat the bottom with oil and sauté the onion and carrots until nearly soft, add potato and season with salt and pepper, sautéing until tender.

Add roasted vegetables to the onion mixture and mix well.

Add enough stock to completely cover the vegetables by 2 inches.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer about 20 minutes.

With an immersion blender, (or working in batches in the food processor) purée until smooth, adding more stock if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

Taste and adjust the seasonings. Can be done ahead.

To serve:

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with celery leaves and seeds.

Braised Celery Hearts
(Serves 6)

6 celery hearts, trimmed and halved

2 small leeks, white parts only, julienned

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup dry vermouth

1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock

1 bunch fresh chives or flat leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cut off most of the leaves and remove the rough outer stalks of the celery.

Cut each heart lengthwise into halves.

Wash thoroughly and drain on paper towels.

Place an ovenproof skillet or casserole pan that will accommodate all the celery in one layer over moderate heat, and coat the bottom with olive oil.

Add butter, and when the foam subsides, arrange celery flat side down in the pan and cook over low heat until lightly browned.

Turn, scatter leeks around the celery, sprinkle with salt and pepper and brown the other side, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour vermouth and stock into the pan and cover.

Either simmer on top of the stove or place in oven and cook/bake until the celery is tender to the point of a fork, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the celery to a heated platter.

Set pan on top of the stove and reduce the liquid until syrupy, taste, and adjust the seasonings. Swirl in a bit more butter if necessary.

Spoon the cooking liquid over the celery and garnish with chives.

Celery Slaw
(Serves 4-6)

1 bunch celery, trimmed of tough stalks and bottom, sliced very thin

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 or 3 small yellow sweet bell peppers, diced (usually combined with red and orange)

1 carrot, peeled and shredded

About 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh dill

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: 1/2 cup raisins, golden or dark, for garnish

1/4 cup salted and toasted pistachios, for garnishFor the dressing:2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

About 1 to 1/2 teaspoon honey, to taste

To prepare:

Working with a benriner or a food processor with a slicing blade, slice celery very thin.

Transfer to a bowl, add onion, peppers, and carrot, and mix well.

Stir in parsley, salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar and lemon juice, slowly whisk in oil until the mixture becomes an emulsion.

Season with salt and pepper, taste and add honey if desired.

Spoon only enough dressing over the vegetables to coat them and toss well.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Refrigerate until chilled.

To serve:

Sprinkle raisins, pistachios, with a pinch of parsley or dill on top.

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