Level of difficulty: 1.75
Peel the celery. This is not as difficult as it sounds, and makes a significant difference in the end result. Use a vegetable peeler, much like you would a a carrot–peel one end, turn the celery around, and peel the other. The remaining peel is quite tough but is full of flavor and great for stock!
After the celery is peeled, arrange it in single layers in Ziploc or vacuum bags. Celery has a tendency to float. Lipavi racks make it easier to keep the celery submerged, but even if the bag floats the process will work. Proteins processed via sous vide must be fully submerged, but vegetables do not create the same risk. Process the celery at
183 F/84 C for 0.5 hours.
Half an hour is a shorter interval than I typically use for vegetables. The peeled celery retains more of its crispness with the short process time. Cold shock the packaged celery in tap water until it achieves 70 F/21 C, and then refrigerate until it achieves 40 F/21 C. This is the standard practice for all sous vide projects that are not intended to be served immediately.
In the slide below, I am preparing to smoke the celery along with numerous other vegetables as part of a series of recipes. They will all be posted on this site!
Sprinkle the vegetables lightly with flour. This is a controversial practice and is not absolutely necessary. The small amount of flour used encourages the marinade to cling to the vegetables. The end result will not appear to have the thick, doughy surface that one might expect because of the presence of oil in the marinade. Apply enough of the marinade to coat all the vegetables and then arrange on racks that will fit in your smoker.
180 F/83 C for 4 hours.
I remind people that this low temperature is unlikely to burn the contents of the oven even over an extended period. More importantly, I try to discourage people from “over monitoring” the progress of their food. There are at least two reasons for this:
Every time the lid is lifted in a barbecue the internal temperature plummets, sometimes as much as 100 F/38 C. This adversely affects the accuracy of duration driven projections. It can take the oven up to 30 minutes to return to it’s intended temperature. In other words you may not get desirable results in the allotted time.
Opening the lid also exposes you to a high concentration of toxic gasses and particulate matter. Carbon monoxide and nitric oxide are supposed to go up the flue, not into your lungs. Speaking as a former smoker, lungs are easily damaged and the effects are cumulative. You really want to avoid exposure to the gasses emitted by any smoker.
Turn off the smoker if that is an option and open the door. Step away from the smoker to let the smoke dissipate and slow down. Remove the racks from the smoker and you’re ready to move on to the next step!
I did a mélange of vegetables simultaneously using the same procedure. The duration of the smoking is four hours for ALL the vegetables. The sous vide processing temperature for most vegetables is usually 183 F/84 C, but the duration may vary. For example, corn and artichokes take 4 hours. Celery takes 0.5 hour, carrots take 1 hour, red onions take 1 hour, but figs (that’s right, FIGS,) take 0.5 hours; tomatoes I always smoke from raw. I do like to peel them and remove the seeds first and vacuum if possible.
Not only are these vegetables delicious, they are easy to present in a colorful manner…like this, with smoked tomatoes, red onion, and a little licorice gastrique.
Or a communal platter antipasto style
Room to stand up the Lipavi racks inside is very important. Below is one we used in California, custom made. Very nice but manual, and that was a lot of work. Good times!