Several ideas for what to do with celery leaves – including a hearty soup
An important part of Tried And Supplied’s mission is the elimination of food waste, so when I carted back a couple of heads of celery topped with outrageous leafy hairdos not long ago, I hesitated before pitilessly pruning the frivolous bangs and dropping them in the bin. Surely, there must be a use for them?
A bit of research revealed that there certainly is. Below, you’ll find some ideas, but I think the best of all is the hearty, creamy, soup.
Ideas for using celery leaves
- Make a pesto (garlic, almonds, olive oil, pecorino, salt and pepper) and:
- Add it to a risotto
- Mix it with cannellini beans
- Spread it on bruschetta, topped with tomatoes
- Incorporate into a sandwich of avocado, cucumber, goats cheese and rocket
- Chop and use as a garnish – use the delicate, light-hued, inner leaves on deviled eggs for example.
- Mix with a tin of drained chickpeas, olive oil, sherry vinegar and spring onions
- Add them to a salsa verde
- Add, right at the end of cooking, to a stir fry
- Substitute some or all of the darker (stronger flavoured) celery leaves for parsley, for example, in a tabbouleh
- Add to a green salad, or chop the delicate inner leaves into a potato salad
- Jekka McVicar, writing in A Taste Of Home, suggests mashing cooked parsnip (about 750g) with onion, garlic, ricotta, a couple of tablespoons of chopped celery leaf and a couple of egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites, and fold in. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for about half an hour.
- Or you can make it into a fabulous, hearty, creamy soup, as described below
Various garnishes for this celery leaf soup
You can try all kinds of garnishes with this soup:
- Rye bread, or wholemeal croutons
- Blue cheese
- Shavings of pecorino or Parmesan
- Dry-fried walnuts
- Chives and nigella seeds
- Or a mixture of a couple of the ideas above – in the photograph, below, there are: gorgonzola cut with mascarpone; dry-fried walnuts and wholemeal croutons.
Recipe for a hearty, creamy celery leaf soup
- celery leaves from two heads of celery
- 1 onion
- 3 fat cloves of garlic
- 1 medium-sized potato (about 130g/5 oz)
- 400 ml/1⅔ cups double cream
- 50g/2 oz butter
- 560 ml/4 cups just boiled water
- 4 chicken or vegetable stock cubes
- salt and pepper
- garnish – for ideas, see above
- a couple of balls of frozen spinach (optional)
- a couple of stems of celery, without the string (optional)
- Peel and chop the onion, and start to sweat it with the butter in a large saucepan. If you are using any actual celery, destring that (or it will mess up your stick blender), chop roughly and add.
- Cut the leaves off the celery heads and use a pair of stout kitchen scissors to snip the leaves into saucepan. Don’t add too many – they can be a bit bitter.
- Crush the garlic cloves with a teaspoon of salt, and add to the saucepan, stir in well.
- Cut the potato (peel if necessary) into 2”/5 cm chunks.
- When the onion has turned translucent, add the just boiled water and the stock cubes. Grind in some pepper. Add the potato chunks. Add spinach if you are using.
- Cover and simmer for about an hour.
- Reduce the heat, and add the cream.
- Using your stick blender, blend until smooth (ish). Taste – if a bit bitter, add a little honey, and/or a bit more cream.
- Serve, with whatever garnish you decide upon.