If the writers of the TV satire “Portlandia” had come to 14th Street in Washington and eaten at Etto while working on Season 4, they might have rethought the sketch featuring a marketer trying (and failing) to make celery the hip new vegetable. Because all it takes is one forkful of “Celery, Celery, Celery and Walnut” to realize that co-owner Peter Pastan has met the challenge.
How do he and chef Cagla Onal-Urel turn the humble vegetable into something swoon-worthy? Sharp pecorino Romano cheese, tangy citrus and a heavy dose of supreme olive oil do the trick — or so we thought before Pastan shared the recipe. The secret, it turns out, is that he calls for not just conventional green celery but also the Chinese variety, which has thinner ribs and a stronger flavor and is not traditionally eaten raw. Make this salad with the more common celery, and it’s very good; mix the two types, and it’s sublime.
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