Celery, bacon and cheese gratin
We eat celery sticks as a snack or in salads - but the heart is the prize and it's so often overlooked. The 10 centimetres at the base of a bunch is a true delicacy - enjoy it raw or cooked.
Photo: Natalie Boog
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- 250g bacon, chopped
- 1 bunch celery, trimmed
- 40g butter, chopped
- 3 eschalots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 100g emmenthaler cheese, grated
- 11/4 cups pouring cream
- 2-3 sprigs thyme, picked
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 3 tbsp grated pecorino
Pre-heat oven to 200C.
Fry bacon in a heavy-based non-stick pan over high heat until browned and crisp, remove with a slotted spoon, reserve and leave fat to cool slightly. Cut celery into 3cm diagonal slices. Add butter to pan and when melted add celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add eschalots and garlic and cook over medium heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are cooked and lightly browned. Stir in bacon, emmenthaler, cream and thyme leaves. Season.
Spoon mixture into a six-cup capacity ovenproof dish, sprinkle with pecorino and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Serve with roast lamb or with salad and crusty bread.