VegetablesAlison Lambert

CELERY GRATIN

VegetablesAlison Lambert
CELERY – Use the tough outer leaves for infusing stocks, soups and acting as a trivet when roasting meat and fish.



I always peel the string of the celery stalks with a peeler and you will find the celery more enjoyable to eat. The light coloured leaves are wonderful added to salads or finely chopped and sprinkled over soup or risotto at the last minute to add a last minute hit of flavour.


CELERY GRATIN
A great side dish for roast meats.

Serves 4-6

1 head of celery, with its leaves
100g crème fraiche or sour cream
About 1 litre vegetable stock or water1 small onion, peeled and sliced
1 bouquet garni made with 1 bay leaf, 3-4 parsley stalks, 2 sprigs thyme
6 peppercorns
Salt and ground black pepper
1 small knob butter, for greasing
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 small handful fresh white breadcrumbs
30g grated parmesan or gruyère

Method
Heat the oven to 180C.

Cut the leafy ends off the celery and reserve. Remove any tough strings from the outer stalks, and cut the sticks into 10cm lengths.

Put the stock or water, onion, bouquet garni and peppercorns into a pan. Bring to a boil and add some salt and the celery. Lower to a simmer, partially cover and poach until the celery is just tender, about 15 minutes. Remove celery from the poaching liquid and arrange in a lightly buttered gratin dish.

Pour the strained poaching liquid into a clean pan and discard the onion, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Simmer until reduced to about 100ml, remove from the heat and whisk in the crème fraîche, about two tablespoons of chopped celery leaves, if you have them, and the parsley. Adjust the seasoning and pour over the celery.

In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs and cheese, sprinkle over the gratin and bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.