We hit the jackpot this weekend at the farmers market when JJ spotted a freshly plucked bunch of celery. It bears no resemblance to the stuff bound in plastic 3,000 miles away in California, shipped East, and hosed down periodically at the local grocery store.
Truly great produce has its own sweet season of perfection. There is so little that has to be done to capitalize on its superb flavor. Summer is short though, so when your train comes in, you have to be quick. Celery soup is glorious… right now.
The leaves on fresh celery are abundant, but bitter to my taste. I chopped them in the Cuisinart and wrapped them in plastic to add in conservative doses to salad dressings. They remind me of wheat grass shots: nutritious, but like liquified medicine… and wait a second, we’re talking about the sweet pleasures of summer produce!
After removing all the showy leaves, a bunch of skinny stalks swam around the sink. Very humble, I do declare!
Farmers Market Celery Soup
2 bunches of real celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 or 3 large perfect carrots, chopped
2 T olive oil + 4 T butter
4 cups chicken stock
1 t dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup whole milk
fresh chives, chopped for garnish
In your favorite soup pot, heat the oil and butter, and add the celery, onion, and carrots.
Saute’ on low heat, without browning, for 25 minutes, with the lid on.
Strain the stock from the vegetables and blend the vegetables until smooth.
Reunite the stock and vegetable puree and gently simmer the soup for 20 minutes. Add the milk.
Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper to your liking. Finish with a sprinkle of chives.