As members of a robust regional CSA (Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative), we've grown used to sometimes bringing home vegetables which we might not even have known existed before. When we get something new--fairytale eggplants? kabocha squash?--I get to accept the challenge of figuring out what it is and how we might best enjoy it. This week, my challenge was a veggie which at first I couldn't even identify, until I looked again at the week's list. It was, of course...pink celery.
It turns out that pink celery can be used pretty much like regular celery, though it has a stronger flavor. The wheels started turning for me as I thought about what kind of dish might enjoy the addition of this crunchy and colorful newcomer. What came to mind was a black rice salad. Black rice is also colorful, cooking to a deep purple, and its chewy texture, I decided, would be a nice contrast to the little pink curls of celery. I got to work.
I ran through a mental inventory of other ingredients I have on hand which might also offer textures and colors to complement the rice. I julienned a bright orange carrot, pulled out some blanched edamame left over from another recipe, thinly sliced a bit of green and purple cabbage, remembered that I had some pomegranate arils in the freezer, and toasted some almond slivers. For the dressing, I gathered some of the usual suspects (olive oil and fresh lemon juice), plus miso and tahini and Sriracha, for more flavor.
The resulting salad, I can happily report, is a success. There's a great mix of colors and textures and flavors, and it's pretty perfect for a mid-August lunch, with a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I'm happy to now have formally met the new friend that is pink celery, and I'll look forward to see what's in next week's share. Blue butternut? Crimson cauliflower? I'll let you know.