Monday, June 07, 2010

Mostarda di Sedano (Celery Preserve)

You have probably already had celery in appetizers, soups, pasta sauces and other savory dishes. But I think this is the way you are going to enjoy the most. It has a delicate herb-honey flavor and a crunchy texture that pairs lovely with fresh cheeses. I specially love it with mozzarella di bufala or with fresh ricotta, but you can combine it with any kind of cheese. It is also delicious on ice cream or with a creamy Greek yogurt as a lighter dessert. It keeps well in the refrigerator for months so you can make a big batch and enjoy it in all those different ways.

Mostarda di Sedano

• 2 pounds firm celery stalks, medium size
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
• 1 tablespoon brandy

Rinse, dry, cut in cubes and process the celery stalks in a food processor.

Put the cup of sugar and the salt in the saucepan, pour the orange juice, orange zests on top and then all the celery.

Set the pot over medium-low heat and stir as the sugar dissolves and the celery heats and starts releasing its juices. Bring the syrup to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently. Cover the pot and adjust the heat to simmer. Cook for about 25 minutes more, stirring frequently. Uncover the pot and add the brandy, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated, about 25 minutes or more. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mostarda cool completely before using. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will keep for months.

Yield: Makes about 2 cups

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