Celery is cheap, like a few bucks a bunch. It lasts for a long-ass time in your fridge, and it’s far more versatile than most people give it credit for. Of course, you are used to eating it raw, but browned in olive oil and gently braised in vegetable or chicken stock, celery becomes a tender vehicle for a tangy, salty, lemony, warm Dijon vinaigrette. If your celery is on the tough side (often the farmers’ market celery can be rugged), run a vegetable peeler lightly along the outer veins of any larger stalks to remove the fibrous strings. To make this a main dish, add jammy eggs, boquerones, or sardines.
2 servings as a main
- Add ¼ cup (60ml) olive oil to a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Place a dinner plate off to the side. When the oil is hot, add the celery in two batches, convex side down. Season with ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt and brown on one side for approximately 7–10 minutes. If they start to bow from the heat, press them down with a pair of tongs to maintain contact with the surface of the pan. When the celery is blistered and golden, remove to the adjacent plate and proceed to cook the second batch.
- When all of the celery has been browned, lower the heat to medium. Add the lemon peel, red pepper flakes, capers, and garlic, and sauté just until fragrant, less than a minute. Add the broth and all of the cooked celery back to the pan. Cover and braise for 10 minutes. Check once to make sure the liquid is at an active simmer but not boiling, then keep it covered for the remaining cooking time. Transfer the celery to a serving platter and remove the pan from the heat.
- To make the vinaigrette, add the Dijon mustard and the lemon juice to the pan and whisk. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a slow stream and whisk to emulsify. Spoon the dressing over the celery.
- Season with a pinch of flaky sea salt and an extra pinch of red pepper flakes. Garnish with celery leaves and serve with soft-boiled eggs and boquerones, if using.
Recipe reprinted from Arty Parties: An Entertaining Cookbook by Julia Sherman. Photos copyright © Julia Sherman. Published by Abrams.
Julia Sherman runs Salad for President, an evolving publishing project that draws a meaningful connection between food, art and everyday obsessions.