TITLE: Celery (Recipe: Spicy Shrimp and Cashew Stir-Fry)
DATE: 4/02/2010 08:53:00 AM
Along the lines of garlic and onions, I think of celery more as an aromatic than a vegetable. I rarely cook it on its own, but its distinctive flavor enhances French, Chinese and southern cooking. Its crunchy texture makes it a staple in egg, chicken or tuna salad.
Because of how I use celery – one stalk at a time – it becomes a regular crop in my vegetable garden. I can harvest the single stalk, leaving the remainder of the plant in the ground to continue growing. Unlike purchasing a whole head at the market – where the remainder will go limp in my crisper drawer before I have a chance to use it up.
I was working on a cookbook for Sauchuk Farm in Plympton MA for their summer CSA. His subscribers will get an incredibly diverse assortment of vegetables, including celery. The celery will keep for up to 3 weeks when stored properly (Coldest part of fridge. Leaves like to be dry in a bag. Stems like to be loose in a bag). You’d still need to use almost a stalk a day to consume it all before it goes flaccid. That creates a menu planning challenge. For that reason, I wanted to make sure I included a few recipes in his cookbook that called for copious amounts of celery.
Last summer, I made a celery Caesar salad which was quite lovely, but decided to go a different route for his book. I opted, instead, for a Chinese stir-fry – a variation of kung pao chicken that I learned at a cooking class in Beijing China. I used cashews instead of peanuts, and shrimp instead of chicken.
Spicy Shrimp, Celery and Cashew Stir-Fry
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and cleaned
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 egg white
3 scallions cut into rounds
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs. ginger, peeled and finely minced
3 celery stalks, sliced
¾ cup roasted, salted cashews
2 tbs. plain or peanut oil
½ tsp. salt
1 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. black vinegar or balsamic
2 tsp. shaio xing wine or sherry
2 tbs. water or chicken broth
1 tsp. corn starch
1 – 2 tsp or more chile paste (like sriracha)
In a small bowl, marinade the shrimp with ¼ tsp. salt, soy sauce and egg whites. In a separate bowl, combine all sauce ingredients.
Heat a large over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil, ginger, garlic and ½ the scallions. Let cook for 1 minute and then add the celery and cashews. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and stir-fry until the celery turns jade green, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
Return the skillet to high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and shrimp and stir-fry until shrimp turn pink and curl up, about 2 minutes. Return the celery and cashews to the pan and the sauce, and stir over the heat for about 1 minute to mix together evenly and blend flavors. Transfer the stir-fry to a platter and garnish with the remaining scallions.
Just dropping by to say hello. :-) We didn't mean to be, but these days, we're garden food bloggers, too. The last few posts of mine have been about foraging in the backyard and coming up with decent food. Have a great weekend! Kim
DATE:4/02/2010 09:22:00 PM
Such a great piece of info I learned from you about celery! I didn't know you could just pick a stalk. Our fridge hates us - and is always freezing up our celery. Celery will be in my garden this year. Your stir-fry sounds delicious with shrimp and cashews!
AUTHOR:Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
DATE:4/03/2010 05:12:00 AM
The first time I had a dish like this, with celery as the main vegetable, it was a revelation! I love how it stays crisp but also gets more sweet when you cook it this way. I'm definitely going to try this; I have all of the condiments, shrimp in the freezer, and a bit of celery that's wanting to be used soon, even though it's not from my garden.