Earthy and slightly bitter, celery stalks are the perfect addition to a wide range of dishes. Serving as the base for soups, stocks, and salads, there's nothing the vegetable can't do. When plucking off the leaves to use the stalks, don't toss them in the trash. Equally as delicious, the celery leaves can be turned into a bright, savory pesto.
Celery leaves are filled with the same exquisite fennel-like flavor as the stalks. They have a slight spice that quickly turns into a strange earthy sweetness past the first initial bite of bitterness. Turning leaves into classic pesto isn't a new thing; while basil is the traditional choice, other leaves are also used to make the herbaceous sauce. Everything from mint and cilantro to parsley — which has the same mild, peppery flair as celery — has been turned into pesto.
Making celery pesto is no different than other varieties. In a food processor, add rinsed celery leaves, garlic, pecorino cheese, pine nuts, and lemon zest together. Once they've been blended into a smooth paste, add olive oil and pulse for a while longer. To switch things up, you can swap out pine nuts for cashews or almonds to give the pesto a creamier taste.
Read more: The 20 Best Olive Oils For Cooking
Bring Earthiness To These Dishes With Celery Pesto
With a delightfully vegetal taste, celery pesto shouldn't be used for pasta alone. Use celery pesto to whip up a batch of creamy chicken. Brown chicken breasts in olive oil and set aside, then saute shallots and garlic in the pan right after. Once they've softened, deglaze the pan with white wine and add the chicken, heavy cream, and celery pesto. Serve this luscious, savory dish over rice, pasta, or on its own.
Swipe celery pesto onto a toasted bun before assembling a lamb burger. Tender and grassy, lamb is the perfect pair for celery pesto. The sauce brings a creamy, savory quality to the spiced lamb, creating a uniquely gourmet experience. Finish off the burger with crumbled feta, pickled red onions, shredded mint, and arugula.
For a quick and easy dinner, you can never go wrong with pesto-covered salmon. Smear the celery pesto onto a filet of salmon and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve the herbaceous salmon with a side of roasted eggplant and lentil salad for a nutty, earthy addition to dinner.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.