Monday, 25 September 2017

In praise of celery

"Celery raw develops the jaw, but celery stewed is more quietly chewed". 
~Ogden Nash. 

For some reason, celery is an undervalued vegetable, ...Julia Child was a big fan…and so am I.My grandmother used to serve braised celery  a lot and thats where my taste for it stems from. You've got a bundle of celery in the back of your salad drawer. (Go check. You do.) This is what you should do with it.  Braising mellows this stalky vegetable and brings out a rich, savoury flavour. The cooking broth reduces to a shiny glaze and while the celery tenderly yields to the tines of the fork, it still has a bit of crunch left (nobody wants to eat mush). Serve it alongside a roast chicken for a truly lovely and simple dish.
For many people, celery is best used as a garnish, part of a salad,served with a tray of dips or perhaps to stir a Bloody Mary. But celery deserves more than being a bit on the side,it stands up well to taking centre stage.How many know that by carefully drying the leaves in the oven you can then flake them and make a flavoursome Flor de sal.Celery is a staple of the Mediterranean kitchen,particularly Italy, and makes a wonderful minestrone.Don´t stop at one stalk when you make soup, it packs a wonderful
herbal flavour.Try a green genie smoothie to kick off your day.My Japanese tuna and brown rice salad detox that i posted earlier this year was a big hit.Celery leaf and almond pesto is another tasty way of making use of every part of the vegetable.....and finally for those of you who beggar belief my favourite if a litle crazy sandwich filling is peanut butter with celery and cream cheese as tried and tested by James Ramsden in the Guardian
Quick braised celery
1 head of celery,trimmed,de-stringed and cut into 7.5cm pieces (3 inch)
25g (1 oz) butter
1 medium onion,peeled and thinly sliced
75g (3 oz) carrot,peeled and thinly sliced
225ml (8fl oz)  marigold vegetable bouillon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley,celery leaves for garnish
salt and freshly milled black pepper
First of all melt the butter in the frying pan and begin to cook the onions for 3-4 minutes over a medium to high heat, until lightly golden, then add the carrots and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Now add the celery and continue to fry for 5 minutes more, or until everything is slightly browned at the edges. Season with salt and black pepper, then pour in the hot stock and place a lid on the pan.
Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are almost tender, then take the lid off and increase the heat to medium and continue to simmer till the liquid has reduced and become slightly syrupy – about 5 minutes.
Serve the celery with the juices poured over and sprinkled with the parsley.

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