Saturday, 18 April 2009
Celery - the overlooked veg
How often do you find anyone - cookery writers included - singing the praises of celery? Yet it's a frugal cook's friend - inexpensive, adaptable and tasty. It helps admittedly if you can buy the sort of luxuriant bunches you get in France, even in the supermarkets, which still have their leaves but even so it's a useful veg for any cook to have to hand.
I bought a bunch the other day to make Peposo, a slow braised Italian beef stew with pepper that one of the students I work with on my student site Beyond Baked Beans had posted on our Facebook page. (A great recipe - do try it!) It's one of the essential components of an Italian sofrito, the finely diced mixture of veg (the others being onions and carrot) that form the basis of ragus and stews
Last night I used most of the rest in a simple dish of braised celery, simmered with a couple of green onions and a little stock which we had with a dish of stuffed mussels in tomato sauce (a Languedoc speciality). There was enough sauce and celery leftover to combine the two for a soup today but I shall have to think what do do with the rest before we leave early on Monday.
I could add it to a salad - you can use the stalks for crunch and the leaves instead of parsley. It's very good with apple and with tuna - and cold chicken though I don't have any at the moment. You can add it to a tuna or chicken sandwich filling with mayo. You can use lengths of the stalk to dunk in dips such as hummus or with whipped goats' cheese.
I suspect you could grill it, fennel-style, on a ridged grill pan and dress it with olive oil and lemon juice which would be great with grilled fish.
You can use it to make a creamy soup or a tasty gratin with a breadcrumb and parmesan topping
So what's the problem? Why don't we hear more about it?
Are you a celery lover or a celery hater? And if you like it tell me what you do with it.