No, not what you are thinking, although a lovely stalk of celery is a pretty Bloody Mary garnish, a traditional brunch treat which myMEGusta has not had in ages (being more of a Mimosa kind of girl).
We are remembering a trip to Vienna, and a delicious al fresco breakfast at Meieri am Stadtpark, the modestly priced appendage of the ** Steirereck am Stadtpark. An outdoor table in the park setting was perfect for watching locals pass by on a cool July morning. The dish was a celeriac pancake, garnished with slices of fresh radishes, edible flowers, and crème fraiche, exquisite and delicious.
Most Americans think of celery as the traditional stalk we enjoy crisp and raw, munched as a healthy snack (we dispute the notion that it has negative calories), chopped in a tuna salad or matched with peanut butter and raisins in the notorious Ants on a Log.
But, celery root, also known as celeriac, is much more popular in Europe, ubiquitous raw in zesty celeris remoulade, and served cooked as an important ingredient in dishes like those pancakes, pureed with mashed potatoes or in soup.
A recent treat was at Petrossian in New York, where a celeriac puree and celeriac chips accompanied striped bass and spinach, an excellent combination.
Readers who frequent Asian markets are familiar with Chinese celery, also known as kahn choy or chan choy.
Bearing a strong resemblance to stalk celery, this type is stringier and has a more pronounced flavor, which is why it is almost always chopped and cooked, or at least blanched. When you see “celery” as an ingredient in authentic Asian cooking, it’s referring to this vegetable, although stalk celery can be substituted.
And, did you know that you can grow a new celery plant by immersing the base of the stalk in water, and letting it root? A more useful tip is that you can freshen limp stalks by putting them in a glass of cold water, even in the refrigerator, so that they can absorb the liquid and quickly crisp up.