Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Celery was a thin-stalked, aromatic but bitter herb called smallage before gardeners developed the mild, thick-stalked vegetable. Apium graveolens is a native of damp European habitats near the sea. The distinctive flavor of its leaves and stalks comes from compounds called phthalides, which it shares with lovage and with walnuts. It also has citrus and fresh notes. Celery is often simmered or sautéed with onions and carrots to provide a broad aromatic base for sauces and braises.