Celery Victor

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Celery Victor is an American classic whose creation is credited to Victor Hertzler, chef at San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel at the turn of the 20th century. 

“Simmering celery hearts in a rich broth, then chilling them in a brisk citrus and olive oil marinade, elevates their flavor,” says Dana Jacobi, author of the 12 Best Foods Cookbook, a contributor to the New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life and a recipe developer for the American Institute for Cancer Research. “They are then tossed with chopped pimiento or roasted red pepper, dressed with some of the marinade and served on a bed of Romaine lettuce.” 

As discussed yesterday, Jacobi will be serving this dish as a Thanksgiving starter

“This version of Celery Victor, sure to be a conversation starter, is a light, boldly flavored prelude to your turkey and all its trimmings,” she says. 

All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store. 

Celery Victor 

Makes 4 servings

4 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 carrot, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 whole garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 small onion, quartered
4 parsley sprigs
1 large celery heart
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (jarred) pimientos or roasted red peppers
8 large romaine lettuce leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon capers, drained, rinsed and finely chopped 

Place broth, carrot, garlic, onion and parsley in deep, medium skillet. Cover, and over medium-high heat, bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. 

Quarter celery heart lengthwise. Cut off and discard leaves, except those on smallest, innermost ribs. Add celery to hot broth. Cover, and simmer until celery is almost tender, 5–8 minutes. The outer ribs should be flexible, not floppy. Cool celery in cooking liquid until lukewarm. 

In 1-gallon, resealable plastic bag, combine lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid, salt and pepper. Add oil, then celery. Seal bag and marinate celery in refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. Strain remaining broth and reserve for another use. 

Cut marinated celery crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop pimientos and combine with celery. 

To serve, make a bed of lettuce on a plate. Mound celery and pimiento mixture atop lettuce leaves and place a few spoonfuls of marinade on top. Sprinkle on parsley and capers, and serve immediately. 

Per serving: 80 calories, 5 g total fat (less than 1 g saturated fat), 8 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 380 mg sodium.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research

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