This is part of a series on ingredients to add to your homemade tomato sauce to give it a boost of flavor! For all the post in this series, click here to view them all.
When making your own tomato sauce, there are endless numbers of ways to give that sauce a boost in flavor. Adding other vegetables can really enrich the flavor of the sauce as well as adding the health benefits of additional vegetables. One vegetable that pairs really well in tomato sauce is celery. And you don't need a lot of it to add a lot of flavor.
Buy Farmer's Market Celery if You Can
Does something look different about the picture of the celery you see in this post. Look at all those leaves. Look at how skinny the stalks are. Not what you normally find in the grocery store produce department. That is because this celery was purchased at a local farmer's market. That is where you can get the best celery. Once you have had it fresh directly from a farmer, you will have a hard time going back to buying it at the store. Why is it so much better. First off, it's the flavor. These little stalks pack more celery flavor than much larger stalks you are probably use to. Second, those leaves are a special treat. You can chop them up like any other herb to add flavor to a variety of dishes. For example, they would be great in a cabbage slaw for a pulled pork sandwich. Or they are wonderful addition to soups, especially carrot soup. Store bought celery usually has very little leaves on it if any. From the one bunch I got a the farmer's market, I ended up with good sized container full of leaves.
Adding the Celery to the Sauce
Since I am always run my tomato sauce through a food mill, I just toss the celery in the pot with the tomatoes to add the flavor. No need for a knife, just break it up with your hands. If you want to use the leaves (if you even have them), then I suggest giving them a fine chop and adding them to the sauce at the first end of the cooking for maximum flavor. Any herb I like adding at the end and the celery leaves are technically an herb (if you have celery seed that would be a spice). Even if you don't have a food mill and want a smooth sauce, keep your stalks pieces large, so they can just be removed at the end with a pair of tongs. The food mill helps to crush the celery, maximizing it's flavor potential.