Who’d have guessed that celery salt was the must-have spice of chef Emeril Lagasse?
In an interview in Nation’s Restaurant News, called “5 Things I Can’t Live Without,” celery salt was at the top of his list.
“I use it in almost everything,” says Chef Emeril. “People don’t usually guess that it’s in there, but I can tell you that it adds oomph to many dishes. My test kitchen team was very surprised when I shared this secret with them.”
His other four must-haves include an electric deep fryer, an instant-read thermometer, Julia Child’s The Way to Cook and an immersion blender. You can read the full article here.
But today we’re expanding on Number One, celery salt.
WHAT IS CELERY SALT
Celery salt is a seasoned salt made from ground celery seeds*. It can be used to add flavor to just about anything: eggs, salads, soups, fish and seafood, vegetables. It’s used by manufacturers of hot dogs and sausages. It’s the primary ingredient in Old Bay Seasoning.
It can be used as a table seasoning in cooking or as a table salt, like garlic salt, onion salt, rosemary salt, truffle salt, saffron salt and so forth.
Does Emeril use a supermarket brand, an artisan brand or his own homemade celery salt? Photo courtesy McCormick.
Celery salt adds a note of fresh flavor. Some might call it subtly tangy or grassy.
RECIPE: HOMEMADE CELERY SALT
You can use whatever salt you have, including a salt substitute. Gourmet brands use a more flavorful salt—fleur de sel or French grey sea salt, for example.
If you use a coarse salt, including kosher salt, grind it to the consistency of table salt (or to match the consistency of your ground celery seed).
You can also purchase ground celery seed, but for the freshest flavor, grind your own as you need it.
If you find that there’s too much celery flavor for your taste, you can use a 2:1 proportion of salt to celery seed, instead of the 1:1 in our recipe.
*It can also be produced using dried celery or celery root. Large commercial brands can include anti-caking agents like
sodium bicarbonate, sodium silicoaluminate, and sugar (dextrose).
Celery seed is ground and mixed with salt to produce celery salt. Photo courtesy SilkRoadSpices.Ca.
Ingredients For 1/2 Cup
1/4 cup celery seed
1/4 cup salt or substitute (e.g. reduced sodium salt)
1. PLACE the celery seed in a spice grinder and process to desired consistency.
2. BLEND with the salt.
3. STORE in a tight-lidded container.
If you end up using a lot of celery salt, you can buy celery seed inexpensively in bulk. We found three one-pound bags on Amazon.com for $15.08.
You can also give your homemade celery salt as gifts to friends who cook.
WHERE TO USE CELERY SALT
Note that when adding celery salt in recipes, the amount of regular salt should be reduced.
Beverages: Bloody Marys, tomato juice, vegetable juice
Eggs: deviled, frittata, poached, scrambled
Fish and seafood, especially crab dishes and seafood stews
Meats: burger and meat loaf seasoning; atop hot dogs†, in addition to the mustard, sauerkraut, etc.; roast chicken and turkey, sausage
Salads: chicken, cole slaw, egg, potato, pasta, tuna salad
Salad dressings, marinades and rubs
Sauces, including barbecue sauces and cream sauces
Soups (add to the recipe or sprinkle as a garnish, including atop America’s favorite chicken noodle soup)
Snacks: dips, pickles, popcorn
Starches: baked potatoes (sprinkle it on), French fries, rice
Have we left out your favorite use? Let us know!
†A Chicago-style hot dog, or Chicago Red Hot, is a frankfurter on a poppy seed bun that is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled peppers and a dash of celery salt.