Smoothing Out Celery
If you are a certain member of my family, a daughter-in-law, say, who ranks celery as one of the two worst foods in the world, now is a good time to run from the room. On the other hand, if you are another member of my family, perhaps a beloved brother-in-law who served in the U.S. Navy and reported that the crunch of celery seemed amazing after weeks at sea, this post owes everything to you: you're the reason I gave celery several second chances.
I admit it: cooked celery isn't a natural beauty. That's what photo editing is for!
In the few weeks each year when a few Savoring Kentucky readers may be tempted to try filling up on cold, stringy celery sticks as penance for all that holiday fudge, I'm here to suggest a kinder, richer, and more satisfying approach. Cook that celery, and use plenty of healthy fats and other good flavors. Two wonderful starting points that are standards in our winter kitchen:
Jane Grigson's Celery Soup: You'll find it's scrumptious both hot and chilled.
Céleri Barigoule: Celery Stewed in Olive Oil: This is easy to get going. Then it needs long, slow cooking, around two hours, to make the celery stalks surrender into melting tenderness. It is just as good without the added sauce.
Celery is not yet widely grown in Kentucky, although it can be, with wonderful results. In Celery: A Sonata, I wrote about that, and other Celery 101 facts, and a bit more about these two recipes. Enjoy this venerable, wintry vegetable in delicious new ways.