I love celery in any form and use it in many dishes. I use it instead of a spoon for spreads, hummus, and dressings. I eat it cooked in stocks, use it in pickling brines for tomatoes and watermelon, and usually add it to my salads.
The recipe which I am sharing is versatile and can be served as a side dish topped with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings or as a base for a few delicious dishes. Using one recipe I made a topping for seared tuna steak, a delicious aioli and a light tomato sauce. —Kukla
For the braised celery and tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
8 stalks celery, ends trimmed and cut into about 2-inch lengths. Save the leaves
1 1/2 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine or Vermouth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons fresh dill and the saved celery leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons lightly toasted chopped walnuts
6 fresh medium tomatoes for the sauce, washed and halved
For the Potato-Celery Aioli
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lime
2 limes, juiced
1 medium russet potato, washed, dried and baked until tender
In a large skillet, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and celery. Add the chicken broth, Vermouth, bay leaf, coriander, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Let simmer, turning once, until the celery is tender, about 30 minutes.
Using a large slotted spoon, remove from heat and transfer the celery to a serving platter. Spoon a little cooking liquid over, and sprinkle with dill, celery leaves, and toasted walnuts. Leave the remaining braising liquid in the skillet
To make the tomato sauce: Place tomatoes in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into the skillet with the remaining celery braising liquid, add some more salt and pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook on medium-high heat until reduced and thickened to sauce consistency.
To serve: Spread two tablespoons of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the serving plate, place the fish or meat steak on top and then spoon the braised celery on top.
For the Potato-Celery Aioli
Put the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the egg yolks and pulse to blend. When the potato is completely cooked and still hot, split it open lengthwise (this step will slightly cook the egg yolks and you won't have to worry about raw eggs).
Using a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh, about 3 to 4 tablespoons, add it to the processor. Add the braised celery to the processor. Pulse to combine. With the processor running, slowly add the 1/2 cup of olive oil, through the opening at the top, in a steady stream. Add sugar and lime juice and pulse to combine.
Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. If the mixture is too thick, add a little celery braising liquid to loosen the texture. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, mix in half of the lime zest, cover and refrigerate.
To serve: Spoon a tablespoonful over the fish or meat steak, sprinkle with lime zest.