|Celery: Taking Stalk of the Root
By Liz O’Connor
Celery stalk is a mainstay
in American kitchens, adding color and crunch to salads, as
well as depth and aroma to stocks. But, what of the root and
leaves? Celery extremities have long seen the trashcan in
American kitchens, but lately chefs are leaving nothing to
waste. The leaf has become a popular component in salads,
while the root, pureed, forms a flavorful bed for meats and
Actually, the leaf has long served as a flavorful scrap,
finding its way into stocks with other peels and spare bits.
And the root has been used in European kitchens for years.
In France, celery root, or celeriac, is a bistro classic served
en remoulade. Italians and Greeks consider the celery
root commonplace, too.
Stateside, though, the role of the root and leaf is changing.
Celeriac, harvested from a variety of celery specifically
grown for its root, boasts a strong celery and parsley flavor.
Its texture, devoid of strings and ribs, lends itself to soups
and purees. Uncooked and shredded, its distinct flavor and
crispness also holds its own in bold salads.
The leaf, no longer scrapped, is delicate and flavorful in
sundry dishes. It proffers celery flavor without bulk of stalk
or root when mingling with other leafy herbs and greens. The
featured recipes, from Chef Ed Bilicki of BlueZoo
in Florida, utilize each part of the plant, highlighting it’s
“I like to pair celery with itself,” says
Chef Bilicki, who serves a trio of root puree, braised
hearts and celery leaf salad in a dish aptly named Celery
Three Ways. “One of the principles that’s
indicative of my style is the presentation of multiple forms
of a vegetable on one plate. In my view, this provides a subtle
thread of nuance, at least for the thoughtful diner.”
Recipe from Chef Ed Bilicki of BlueZoo