There are many compelling reasons to think of celery not as a vegetable, but as a herb. It has a strong flavor like a herb; and it is used exactly as are herbs to add a particular flavor to things. Stuffing for the holiday turkey or gravy for that turkey are the first candidates. Celery's effect on poultry and poultry broths is second to none. And it is impossible to make truly great potato salad without an ample measure of celery to lend crunch and vegetal zip.
Celery has been added to lunchboxes for decades to give crunch and interest to a packed lunch. Some of us, as children, would not eat raw celery without peanut butter; and this was one of those pairings that are hard to explain, but work pretty well.
Here are some strategies for treating celery effectively in recipes.
Cut three stalks celery into 1/4 inch slices. Boil for 7 minutes. Shock. Cook 2 slices of bacon until crisp. Meanwhile mix 1 tbs white wine vinegar with 1 tsp sugar and some black pepper. Once the bacon is crisp, remove it from the pan, crumble it. Cook the celery in the bacon fat a minute or two, add the white wine vinegar. If necessary add a little butter, then toss in the bacon. This is a salad almost totally devoid of nutritional merit, but it is different and interesting and tasty.
Copyright S.R. Brubaker 2002 - 2006.