We have been used to buying celery in the UK trimmed and sealed in neat plastic bags. Here in France, celery (céleri branche to distinguish it from céleri-rave which Brits know as celeriac and is a different plant entirely) is sold as masssive heads, untrimmed and complete with leaves. Lots of leaves.
Having bought a head of celery at our local market a while back I set to trimming it down into smaller pieces in order to get it into the fridge. “Should I really throw away all these fresh green leaves?” thought I. A quick peruse of the web resulted in a resounding “No!”
I decided to make celery leaf pesto. Italians will protest that there is only one pesto and it’s made with basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil and (for some) lemon juice. If you are Italian, please forgive me, but I’m going to persist with the name of celery leaf pesto (largely because I can’t think of a better name).
Exhibit A, m’lud, some nice fresh washed celery leaves:
I also used some almonds (I happened to have roasted salted ones, so did not add any further salt), garlic (smashed and lightly fried in olive oil), grated parmesan, olive oil and lemon juice.
I whizzed the almonds in our mini-blender until finely chopped, added the celery leaves, garlic and parmesan, with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Different people prefer different amounts of each ingredient, but don’t go too heavy on the nuts, cheese and garlic: the leaves are the star here.
And there you go. Surprisingly tasty and looks very like its basilic cousin.
I lighty toasted some pain de campagne, brushed it with olive oil and spread the pesto on liberally: