It’s Oscar time of the year, so categories are on my mind.
Celery often features chez nous; sometimes in bit parts–literally–as one element of a soffrito or in a supporting role as a dipping stick for sauces like anchoiade, hummus or guacamole.
750 gms/1 1/2 lbs celery, (weight after separating the sticks and disgarding the damaged outer ones)–cut into short pieces
1 tblsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic–chopped
3 large tinned tomatoes–chopped
1 level tsp cayenne pepper
1 oz smoked bacon–as much fat as possible removed and chopped small
sprigs of thyme and a couple of bay leaves
2 tblsps dry white wine
12 juicy black olives–stoned and halved
- Steam the celery until it’s tender and set aside.
- Sauté the bacon, onion and garlic in the oil until they start to color.
- Add the chopped tomatoes with the spices, herbs and a pinch of salt.
- Cook these gently for five minutes.
- Add the wine and cook another couple of minutes to let the wine evaporate.
- Add the olives and cook on for a couple of minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the celery, turning it over thoroughly in the sauce.
- Heat the oven to 220C./425F
- Spread a layer of the celery mix over the base of an oven proof gratin dish.
- Season and sprinkle over some parmesan.
- Repeat the process–seasoning and sprinkling cheese over each layer.
- Finish with a layer of parmesan
- Place the dish on the highest shelf–checking after 20 minutes.
- The gratin should come out sizzling with a pleasingly charred look.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes.
And the winner is…