Farm Fresh Pick of the Week: Celery

Friday, February 17, 2012 16:02

From Root to Stalk

by: Casey Pukl

Ah, celery. Good with peanut butter, cream cheese, hot wings, blue cheese, in stews, or just on its own. There are countless ways to use this crisp and delightful veggie. That’s why celery is this week’s Farm Fresh Pick of the Week! Not only do Chef Todd Allison and Sous Chef Kristen Williams have some wonderful ideas for how to  prepare celery, but beverage manager Marc Canzoneri also has a refreshing cocktail as well (with a name that y’all are going to love)!

First, let’s go into the celery basics. Who knew there was so much to know about this seemingly simple vegetable?

There are three parts of the plant that can all be eaten — the root, the stalks, and the leaves. The root has a similar flavor to the more popular stalk, but has a texture similar to a soft carrot or potato. They can be eaten raw or cooked. The roots also make great chips when thinly sliced and either baked or fried! Celery stalks have a higher water content, and can also be eaten either raw or cooked. The heart of the stalk refers to the inside stalks which are generally softer than the outer stalks. The leaves can be a great addition to a salad.

Read on to find out how to prepare celery three ways, make a delicious beef stew, and Canzoneri’s latest beverage, The Herb-y Hancock! Special thanks go out to loyal Facebook fan, Indra Russel, for her fabulous cocktail name submission!

Braised Celery Hearts with Celery Root Puree and Celery Leaf Salad

This dish is an example of celery prepared three ways, and it makes an for an excellent first course. Sous Chef Kristen Williams  walks us through these three simple, yet tasty preparations.

To puree the celery root, Williams recommends first roasting some onions and cubed celery root in a pan with some oil, salt, and pepper. Once the celery root and onions are browned, add cream, and allow to cook until the roots are soft. Then place into either a food processer or a blender, and puree.

To braise the celery stalks, Williams says, “Just sautee the celery in a pan with a little bit of oil. Then add a little white wine and chicken stock, and simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the celery starts to get soft.” Pro tip: When choosing a cooking wine, always choose something you would actually drink. In this recipe, the profile of the wine isn’t as important as the overall quality of what you’re using.

To finish off these braised celery hearts, take the stalks out and plate them. Then add a little bit of butter to your braising liquid, melt it down, and drizzle on top of your stalks.

Lastly, you’ll want to grab a small bowl and toss in the celery leaves, raddish slices, olive oil, and a little fresh squeezed lemon juice. Toss the ingredients together, and lay the salad on top of the braised stalks. Voila! You’ve just made celery three ways!

Beef Curry Stew with White Beans and Celery Root

*This stew is currently on special, so for those of you coming in to join us for any shows this weekend, give it a try while it lasts!

Chef Allison recommends making this unique stew to utilize the unique texture of the celery root pieces. To start this stew, Allison says, “Bloom the curry in honey. ” Blooming the curry just means cooking it in honey for a short time. This results in a stronger and bolder flavor presence.

You’ll want to brown your beef before adding it to the stew mixture, but then you can combine your diced celery root, white beans, carrots, beef stock, and curry mixture. Cook on low heat for several hours (or throw it into a crock pot for extra easy prep), and you’ll have a delicious and flavorful meal waiting for you!

Serve this with some celery root chips, and you’ve got a winner.

The Herb-y Hancock
Creator: Marc Canzoneri

Fresh Lime Juice
Simple Syrup
Grey Goose Citron
Soda Water

Instructions: Muddle the celery and cilantro together. Add the lime, simple, and citron and shake. Pour and top with soda water. Garnish with a celery leaf.

If there’s one thing to love about Marc, it’s that he can make absolutely anything into a delicious cocktail. This week was no exception. Not only is this drink refreshing, but it’s balanced, sweet, and still actually tastes like celery. The cilantro and celery give the drink a bit of an herbal accent, but the citron and lime juice balance it out, while the touch of simple syrup gives it the perfect hint of sweetness.

Plan on making this one for your next outdoor gathering, or come on down and sip one on our patio!