Celery Almond Pesto

Long-time CSA member and fearless home chef Meredith Harris shared her recipe for Celery Almond Pesto, a perfect sauce for this week’s celery and these hot summer days. Thanks, Meredith!

Celery Almond Pesto calls for the usual players in most pesto recipes: leafy green something, cheese, garlic, nuts and olive oil, but, oh, buddy! This was no ordinary pesto. It is good. Really good. Let's dive in.

I snipped off all of the celery leaves at the thinnest part of the stalk. The bunch of celery yielded over 4 cups of celery leaves, more than enough for the recipe. The leaves are beautiful and huge. Little did I now how much flavor those leaves packed, good heavens!

The other ingredient that took me a back were the almonds. Almonds have a subtle but bold flavor all their own and they met the strong flavors of the celery leaves nose to nose. The recipe called for blanched almonds, all I had in the freezer were whole,skin-on raw almonds, so that is what I went with. I quickly toasted the almonds in a dry skillet until they smelled nutty, always a sign that they are good and toasty. Toasting nuts really does give them a chance to show off all of their flavors. The act of toasting the nuts heats up the natural oils just hiding away in the nuts.

I put all of the ingredients in the food processor and let the magic happen.Taste test #1 yielded a really bold pesto that was peppery, a tiny bit spicy and balanced out by the smoothness of the almonds, but something was missing.

Well, it dawned on my like a ray of sunshine, it was something yellow: a lemon! Ninety-nine percent of the time, I put the juice of half a lemon in my batch of pesto. It brightens up all of the flavors and really brings them together. Lemon is sort of the friend that gets along with everybody and brightens up the room when they walk in it.

Taste test #2 : And well thats exactly what the pesto needed,so ta-da! Celery Almond Pesto is finished, hooray! Mystery to me no more.

Now the hunt is on what to pair it with, Maybe a nice flank steak grilled up and slice thinly. Oooh, maybe with a big ol' baked potato on the side. Well, a girl can dream, but for now the recipe for this wonderful pesto!
 

Celery Almond Pesto

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of fresh celery leaves
  • 1/3 cup raw,skin-on almonds, toasted
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 grated Parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
     

Preparation

Put all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor, pulse a number of times to break everything up into a paste. Then, with the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto has reached your desired consistency. I like mine a little thin, but chunky enough to served as a dip.

This recipe was adapted shesimmers.com.