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Don’t throw away those celery leaves! (selleri blad)
I grew up eating many meals that started with a base of chopped celery, bell peppers (paprika), and onion. In cajun and creole cooking (Louisiana) this is referred to as the ‘holy trinity’ and the base of many dishes. However, growing up I had no idea about this history… my best guess is my mom picked it up from my grandmother (father’s mother) who grew up in Louisiana. I don’t keep to this tradition as often as I could, but lately celery has been making a come back in my cooking… I just had one little issue:
I was getting annoyed with throwing out the leaves, as I had most often seen people do back home.
Especially when I have celery stalks with tons of leaves like the one pictured above. In north America the stalks often don’t come with so many leaves still attached in supermarkets. So I decided that I would figure out how to use celery leaves in my cooking: “Wasted not want not” right?
Since the leaves are a bit chewy, my obvious idea was to either chop them up fresh and use them in dishes that would cook for a bit, like soup or to dry them out and crumble them up to use. Drying the celery leaves also helped to make them less chewy.
The celery leaves have a very strong (flat leaf) parsley flavor with only a slight celery flavor. So I figured they could be used in dishes where I’d love to have the freshness that parsley gives, but parsley itself would be a little too light to work it’s magic. Dishes with heavy spices, soups, stews, roasts, etc. would be the ideal candidate for my new dried celery leaves stash.
One could even grind up the leaves with sea salt and use it as a seasoning… or go one step further and make a fresher twist on this popular Swedish seasoning salt “Pommeskrydda”:
Pommeskrydda (Seasoning salt for French fries)
- Sea salt (about 60% of this mix should be ground up salt)
- Sugar (About half the amount of salt you used)
- Dried onion (same amount as sugar)
- Dried sweet paprika powder (same amount as sugar plus a little more)
- Dried celery leaves (About 75% of the amount of sugar used)
Take all ingredients and grind them together to make a powder, and enjoy! The pommekrydda you buy in the store has yeast extract in it, basically MSG. If you want more umami flavor, try adding in a sprinkle of ground up dried mushrooms to the mix. Why not?