Celebrating celery – really

Does anyone care that March is National Celery Month? Most of us use the humble, green stalk in soups, stews, stir-fries and salads, but do we ever really pay it much attention? Without celery, which is part of the “Holy Trinity” of regional Louisiana cooking (along with onion and bell pepper) classic dishes like gumbo and jambalaya just wouldn’t be the same. And how about celery’s kin, the not-so-pretty, round brown knob called celery root or celeriac…anyone singing its praises? Celery root is actually the root of a specific celery. The small, firm ones are best, to avoid spongy parts. Their thick skin peels easily and the smooth flesh is like a crisp apple with a celery taste. They work well in vegetable purees and stews. Refrigerate up to a week in a perforated plastic bag. Here then, we pay homage to these culinary cousins.