I have a love hate relationship with celery. Those stringy fibers that get stuck between your teeth and its ubiquitous accompaniment with ranch dressing and flavorless vegetables hardly helps its cause. As a standalone vegetable, it’s about as useless to the culinary world as a Jersey Shore cast member is to society.
But something miraculous happens when you incorporate that mellow, earthy vegetable with other flavors. It brightens the dish and deepens the complexity of the flavors. Suddenly, nothing turns into something. Snookie by herself, much like celery, is nothing to write home about. But combine Snooks+The Situation+Vin+Ron+Sammy Sweetheart+J-Wow+heavy editing, and BAM you’ve got yourself a cash cow. Just like that.
This is the reason I love celery salt so much–it adds another dimension of flavor to a variety of dishes with little effort. When saw Heidi’s post for homemade celery salt on her blog 101 Cookbooks, I had to give it a try.
Heidi’s recipe cleverly uses celery leaves dehydrated in the oven and crumbled. Unlike traditional store-bought celery salt which is made with ground celery seeds and fine grain salt, this is more of a finishing salt, with a delicate, flakey texture.
Salt with a light, flakey consistency will work best for this recipe. Heidi used Maldon. I only had Diamond on hand, but it worked just fine. Choose the freshest looking celery with vibrant and sturdy leaves. Some grocery stores will cut off the leaves, so you may need to make a trip to the farmers market or organic grocery store. Sprinkle the salt over eggs, soups, pastas, essentially anything! It’s so versatile and useful in the kitchen. And unlike the cast of Jersey Shore, celery salt will always remain relevant.
Homemade Celery Salt
From 101 Cookbooks
- Leaves from one bunch of celery
- Flakey salt such as Maldon or Diamond
- Preheat oven to 350F. Pick the leaves off of the celery stems, discarding any limp or unhealthy looking ones. Save the stems for another purpose.
- Rinse the leaves in a strainer under cold water and dry them as best you can. You can do this by shaking the leaves or placing them in a salad spinner. The leaves need to be as dry as possible to dehydrate in the oven properly.
- Arrange the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes. Keep a very close eye on the leaves while they are baking. The leaves are done when they are dehydrated and crispy, but not browned.
- Remove from oven and set aside. As the leaves cool, they will crisp up even more. When they are completely cooled to the touch, crumble the leaves between your fingers to reach your desired consistency. Discard any of the tough spines of the leaves that will not crumble.
- You will want a shoot for a 1:1 salt to celery ratio. Determine your measurements by using a kitchen scale or just eyeball it.