The fresh flavor and the lightness of this dish make it one of my favorites. Served in individual dishes and sprinkled with cheese, it is a lovely first course, and as an accompaniment to lamb, pork, or chicken, it gives spirit to the meat. Make sure the celery you buy is as crisp as possible.
Wash the celery, remove as many strings as possible, and cut into
Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the salt pork, garlic, onions, and carrots and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the celery,* bay leaves, wine, salt, and pepper. Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, and then, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened. Remove the bay leaves and garlic and check the seasoning. You may wish to sprinkle the juice of a lemon on top of the celery before serving.
* If you want the dish to have a thicker consistency, you may put the coarser celery stalks through a Mouli food mill and stir the puree into the cooked vegetables.
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