Celery adds a wonderful freshness to dishes. Here I sauté it with fennel and leeks then made a creamy white sauce, which I spoon over fish fillets and bake to make a warming and easy winter meal. For a complete meal, serve with a baked potato and a steamed green vegetable or a salad of mixed leaves.
This sauce is so good that you will be thinking of other ways that you can use it. One of the other ways I love to use it, is to add cooked macaroni, then pile into a dish, scatter with grated cheese and
sprinkle with paprika and bake until hot and bubbly – now that’s a classy mac ‘n cheese!
It is also delicious mixed with other vegetables such as potatoes,
kumara or pumpkin and once again topped with cheese and baked to make a main dish featuring vegetables.
Fish Baked in Celery, Leek & Fennel Sauce
I also like to stir chopped parsley through the cooked sauce – however, parsley seems to be a bit scarce in these parts at the moment – none of the local growers seem to have any, so I am just having to make do
without it until reappears.
4 x 150g firm white fish fillets
CELERY, LEEK & FENNEL SAUCE
3-4 sticks celery, diced – about 1 cup
4 baby leeks, sliced
2 baby bulbs fennel, chopped
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
sea salt and black pepper
1 Preheat oven to 200°C.
2 For the sauce, place celery, leeks, fennel and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until vegetables soften.
3 Gradually stir in flour, then constantly stirring, add milk and continue cooking and stirring constantly until sauce boils and
thickens. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
4 Place fish in a baking dish, spoon over sauce, sprinkle with paprika and bake for10-15 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.
So tell me, how do you think you might use this vegetable and flavour packed sauce?
Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Fish: Tangaroa Seafoods – Napier; Fennel, leeks, celery: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Milk: Origin Earth – Havelock North; Smoked Paprika: Orcona Chillis ‘n’ Peppers – Hastings; From the garden: lemon; Store Cupboard Ingredients: butter, flour, salt, black pepper.
Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe by Rachel Blackmore
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Other recipes using celery you might like to try: