Wan, insipid, the vegetable equivalent of a Ritz cracker designed for little more than holding schmears of dip. You encounter cold shafts of celery in crudite platters, piled beside the bowl of ranch dressing.
It is time to experience what we consider real celery, rather than the anemic, sad bolts of fiber and water to which you have grown accustomed.
Bold. Wildly versatile. Bright with personality and verve. That’s the celery we grow at Black Cat Farm, and serve in myriad dishes at Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare.
Black Cat’s Celery Lineup
We grow three varieties.
Brilliant produces celery root, also known as celeraic. We primarily use the root in the winter, as a winter vegetable. The green, leafy tops of celeraic are strong, spicy and aromatic. We dry them, and use them to make celery salt.
Tango is the variety you will encounter most often in the restaurants. We start it from seed in the greenhouse in February before transplanting the seedlings into the fields. Tango produces dense clusters of stalks that we use in a wide range of cooking. When the harvest begins in mid-summer, the flavors are awfully assertive and the stalks are ensemble components of dishes rather than stars. But once the temperatures begin to dip, Tango turns sweet and otherworldy delicious. That’s when we give celery leading roles on plates.
Finally, we grow Redventure, the spicier of the two stalk celeries. Redventure offers stalks in gorgeous hues of red and purple.
Celery in Black Cat’s Kitchen
We take advantage of the entire plants in the restaurants.
We pluck leaves and use them as garnishes and components in dishes. We also lay them out on paper towels, and let them dry overnight. Then we crumble the dried leaves and seal them in mason jars. These dried celery leaves are wonderfully aromatic herbs.
The outer stalks get chopped and used in soups and stews. They are the strongest flavored parts of the plant.
And then there is the heart, discovered after a few layers of outer stalks are removed. We serve celery heart as a focal point of the plate, often served with goat cheese dumplings or roasted fingerling potatoes. Saffron aioli is a vivid garnish.
Among many other preparations, we braise the hearts along with tomato, bay leaves and shallots, letting things proceed long enough for the heat to caramelize the tops of the hearts. Tomato flavor infuses the heart. Celery’s snap brightens the tomato. It’s a wonderful marriage.
Another spectacular union? Celery with tomato and horseradish — Bloody Mary flavors. We often exploit this powerful alliance in restaurant dishes.
Growing celery requires quite a bit of work. We start it from seed in the greenhouse in February. The last harvest takes place towards the end of the harvest season, in the fall. Every 10 days, we must weed the rows of celery.
But the toil is worth every minute. Celery is a culinary star.
Find our celery at the Market for the rest of the season. And look for it at Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare.
Saturday 8am – 2pm
Weekly Harvest 9/14/2019
Arugula · Onions: red and yellow · Pickling cucumbers · Mizuna · Corn · Eggplant · Peppers · Tomatoes · Purple potatoes · Golden potatoes · Beets · Basil: Sweet and Purple · Summer squash · Red kale · Mixed salad greens · Radish greens · Osaka purple · Tatsoi · Spicy mustard greens · Celery · Carrots · Parsnips
Sonoran White wheat flour · Khorasan wheat flour · Swiss rye wheat flour
Black Cat Heritage-Breed Pork & Lamb Raised on Organic Pastures
All cuts of lamb · All cuts of pork · Pork skin · Pork jowls
Our Thursday dinners at the new Black Cat Farm dinner space have been selling out. The dinners are so popular we have added new Thursday dates for them. We still have seats for the next four Thursdays. What is a Black Cat Farm Thursday dinner like? Tomatoes so fresh they still hold the sun’s warmth. Corn that perfumes the table. Heritage pork and lamb grilled over plum wood. These represent some of the culinary treasures you will encounter at our weekly farm dinners. Every Thursday through the fall, please join us for hors d’oeuvres on the patio and in our restored, historic farm buildings, followed by tours of our organic- and biodynamic-certified farm. Then we meet back up at the farm dinner space for four courses, each paired with Bookcliff Vineyards wines. Following the meal, guests are free to take in the breathtaking mountain views while they enjoy dessert inside, on the patio, or in front of a bonfire.
We look forward to sharing these weekly celebrations of the pleasures of the table — Colorado-style.
Location: 9889 North 51st St., Longmont.
Time: 5:30 for hors d’oevres and farm tours. Dinner service begins at 6:30.
Dining: hors d’oevres, four courses with wine pairings, dessert.
Cost: $149 per person, includes all wine pairings, taxes and gratuity.
To make reservations, please call Black Cat Bistro at 303-444-5500, or email Maygen at [email protected]. Or click on the link below.