Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Oh the humble celery, situated in the produce bins near the salad greens and carrots.  We all pick one up and usually use it to stretch our tuna and egg salads, spread with peanut butter or pimento cheese, served alongside hot wings, and to flavor soups, but what about celery on its own?
Two nights ago it was all I could do to stop eating this amazing simple salad.  4 ingredients make up this salad, and the only caveats are that the celery should be organic, the pecorino should be soft--ask the cheese person for a pecorino "fresco", and the olive oil should be of good quality---more on olive oil in another post.  Umbria is famous for its celery--in the fall the Sagra di Sedano Nero is a festival held in the town of Trevi just south of Spello where they celebrate the "black" celery--it's not really black, they cover the root end of the celery, so that the leaves become a deep dark green.  As with any Italian festival it involves a LOT of food!  In celebration of celery (click here to read about its nutritional properties) I give you Daniela's Celery Salad and a poem by Ogden Nash.  Buon appetito!

Daniela's Insalata di Sedano

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

one large head of celery
1 cup pecorino cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (see note)
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup good quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Remove any outer stalks of celery that are damaged, or very tough.  Remove any tough strings for the celery stalks, and discard.  
  2. Chop the celery into 1/2-inch slices, including the leaves, and put into a mixing bowl.  
  3. Add the cheese and walnuts, and toss with the olive oil.  Depending on how much celery you have, you may need up to a cup of oil.  Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve. 
  4. Note about the cheese:  If you can't find a good pecorino cheese, I would recommend Parmigiano Reggiano as a substitute.  

by Ogden Nash
Celery, raw
Develops the jaw,
But celery, stewed,
Is more quietly chewed.
Buona Giornata from Spello

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