Thursday, February 18, 2010

CSA week 11 - Celery pesto

Looking at the widely varying recipes on-line for celery pesto, I get the impression that such a thing doesn't actually exist, at least not in any codified form. Each version seems like an independent invention rather than a variation on an established theme. Usually I try to find that theme and work my own variation, but this time I just winged it and saw what I got.

Like I said last Saturday, my celery was exceptionally leafy. I got a full two cups of leaves off of it. I added a handful of parsley to that along with 3 Tablespoons of lightly toasted pine nuts, a couple cloves of garlic and a pinch of salt. I blended all that together and drizzled in extra virgin olive oil until a loose paste formed. About 1/3 cup did the trick.

Now that I've got it, what to do with it? One of the recipes suggested adding Italian sausage and a bit more garlic and serving over pasta. Seems like a sensible idea to me.

The pesto is very light and fresh without being agressively celery-y. The chese helps it pair with the sausage, but the contrast between the fresh greens and the savory sausage is the main thrust of the dish and quite like how they balance. Whether that's better or worse than a standard pesto I can't really say; the lack of an agressively sharp basil or parsley makes this easier on the palate but that also means it's lacking in strong character. I guess it all depends of whether you've got two cups of basil or two cups of celery you need to find a use for; both have their charms.


kat said...

That is a great use for all the celery leaves

billjac said...

Another use for celery leaves that came up a lot in my research is as a substitute for cilantro for those who have difficulties with it. With celery leaves' light flavor, that would eliminate the negative of the soapy flavor and add freshness without add any strong clashing flavors. Not a perfect solution, but not a bad one.

Marian said...

Tried it last week and it was tasty. Used sweet onion instead of garlic, and mixed it with whole wheat penne. Made for a nice and light side dish.