This week’s CSA from Mountain View Farm included bright-green celery tops, fragrant as ever. It was about time for celery to stand up and say, “Notice me!” Celery leaves don’t receive the attention they deserve. The hearts are diced for crunch in salads, added to mirepoix for soups or enjoyed raw as a crunchy snack, but the fragrant leaves are often forgotten — and they’re among my favorite culinary secrets.
Plopping a trimmed celery top into your weekend brunch-time Bloody Mary for a colorful garnish is fine. But wouldn’t you rather pluck off the leaves to use in a vibrant pesto with Parmigiano-Reggiano? Not to mention, celery leaves make a bright, herbaceous addition to nutty grain salads and hearty chickpea dishes.
These delicate green leaves can be used pretty much anywhere in place of parsley. For the best leaves, look for full celery bunches with the dark outer green stalks still attached. The trimmed celery hearts usually available at the grocery store have been stripped of most of their beautiful leaves.
Then store them properly for a longer shelf life by plucking off the leaves (you can reserve the dark-green fibrous stalks for making stock or soups) rinsing them under cool water and wrapping them in a damp towel. Store the leaves in your humidity-controlled refrigerator drawer in an opened plastic bag for use in your next meal. Read more