Celery and apples have a lot in common; they’re crispy, juicy and delicious sources of dietary fiber and vitamin C. But it’s the ways in which they differ that makes them such a unique and complimentary combo.
The crispy sweetness of uncooked apples and the crunchy saltiness of raw celery work together to create a tantalizing texture in salads.
Both flavors are strong enough to remain distinct and identifiable in combinations, even with a savory dressing like the one below:
Celery-Apple Matchstick Salad Dijon
1/4 cup Mayonnaise (regular, lite, or fat free)
1 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar or 1/2 packet of artificial sweetener
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
4 – 6 Celery ribs cut into 1-1/2″ matchsticks
1 tart apple (any tart apple will work, including “baking apple” varieties such as Granny Smith or Fuji) cut into 1-1/2″ matchsticks.
1/2 up dried cranberries or currants (optional)
Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar or sweetener, and tarragon together in a medium large bowl and whisk till smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper (NOTE: go light on the salt at first, as the celery will add an additional salty flavor). Add the celery and apples and stir together, making sure all the sticks are well coated. If desired, add dried currants or cranberries and toss lightly. Serve chilled on lettuce leaves.
But the magic of the apple/celery pairing isn’t just in their complimentary crispness. Cooked together, each brings out the essence of the other in a remarkable way. The salty savor of cooked celery highlights the tangy sweetness of cooked apples and together they form a unique flavor that’s an ideal accompaniment to chicken, turkey, or pork.
Apple and Celery Stuffing
1/2 stick of butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp of minced garlic (optional)
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
4 – 6 celery ribs, washed and chopped fine
1 sweet apple (any variety) peeled, cored, and chopped fine
about 8 ounces of dried breadcrumbs or stuffing cubes
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and saute the onion and garlic over low heat until just softened. Add the celery and apples; mix well and continue to saute for several minutes, until all ingredients are coated and are beginning to soften. Add the breadcrumbs or stuffing cubes and toss in the pan to coat, then add the stock and continue to cook for about three minutes, or until the liquid is well absorbed and the crumbs or cubes are all moistened.
This makes an outstanding stuffing for turkey or chicken, but it’s equally good simply baked in a casserole dish at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.