Am I the only person alive who never heard of this unusual recipe?
In my "Celebrating a Healthy Harvest" cookbooklet I stared at it for weeks and wondered how on earth someone could make an entire salad out of celery. At best celery is a filler--designed to give some crunch to salads such as tuna fish and chicken salad or to the occasional casserole.
Yet I hate to see a growing-limp celery bunch sit around in my refrigerator and be headed for the compost heap just because I can't seem to think of any last-minute use for it. Celery is one of those food items that a typical cook uses just a little bit at a time--one or two stalks at the most. Timing food preparation so that an entire bunch of celery gets used until the very last crunch is difficult.
That's why the Warm Celery Salad recipe from the Chickasaw Nation ultimately drew me in. I hate to be a wasteful cook and believe in being a good steward of the food that God has provided for our table. I knew the Warm Celery Salad recipe would gobble up the remaining three stalks in my refrigerator. I just had to try it.
Man, was I (and was my Hubby) surprised! Warm Celery Salad (indeed, served warm--right out of the skillet on top of the stove) was impressive--so much, in fact, that we ate everything the skillet held and then tipped the scales a little bit the next day. (Each of us does a daily weight monitoring as part of our lifestyle fitness program.) We couldn't help ourselves from going back for repeated helpings. The black-eyed peas are a great accompaniment to the celery as well as a provider of fiber and bulk.
To top off the Warm Celery Salad we put a few of my friend Mary Ann's Sweet Garlic Dills pickle chips on top. (Her recipe appears on page 149 in Way Back in the Country Garden.) No better summertime menu combo than this one exists.
Warm Celery Salad
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups canned blackeyed peas (or canned garbanzo beans/chick peas)
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 large stalks celery, chopped
Cook oil, onion, garlic, and thyme in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is soft, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in vinegar and blackeyed peas until blackeyed peas are warmed. Stir in celery. Cover and cook for 2 minutes or until celery is warmed. Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.