Other Names: Aipo (Portuguese); ajmoda (Hindi); apio (Spanish); céleri (French); chin or kan-tsai (Chinese); karafs (Arabic); kin chai (Thai); sedano (Italian); selderij (Dutch); sellerie (German); serori (Japanese); smallage; syel’ derey (Russian); wild celery.
General Description: Celery seeds are light brown to khaki in color with a penetrating, haylike aroma reminiscent, not surprisingly, of freshly cut celery stalks and with a strong, bitter, warm, lingering, and penetrating astringent flavor. The seeds are gathered from the ancient, hardy marsh plant known as smallage or wild celery (Apium graveolens). Celery seeds marry perfectly with tomato and are essential to mixed vegetables juices. Many popular commercial spice blends for poultry and meat rely on celery seed. The dried or young fresh leaves of cultivated celery sold as celery flakes can be added to salads, sandwiches, and soups for a mild celery flavor.
Celeriac or celery root (A. graveolens rapaceum_) is grown for its enlarged roots, which can be dried and ground with salt as another type of celery seasoning. Leaf celery (_A. graveolens secalinum) closely resembles wild celery, and its abundance of erect-growing leaves can be cut like parsley and used to flavor soups and stews.
Purchase and Avoid: Because of their tiny size, celery seeds are generally used whole, and it is best to purchase them in that form. Ground celery seed quickly loses its aromatic notes, leaving a bitter flavor in their place. Celery salt is made of 3 parts salt and 2 parts ground celery seed, and the blend may include herbs such as parsley and dill.
Serving Suggestions: Use celery salt in Bloody Marys and to season roast beef, roast pork, and meatloaf. Add celery seed to the mayonnaise dressing for coleslaw or tuna, turkey, chicken, or egg salad. Season the boiling liquid for hard-shell crabs or shrimp with either celery seed or celery salt.
Food Affinities: Beef, blue cheese, canned tuna, carrot, cheese, chicken, crab, egg, mustard, parsley, pork, potato, shrimp, tomato, turkey, vinegar.
from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com