This recipe showed up in my inbox today, sent by the folks at the Splendid Table. It’s from “Malaysian: Recipes From a Family Kitchen” by Ping Coombes. When I saw the first sentence of their description, I thought it was apropos for that beautiful bunch of celery in today’s box: “The star of the dish here is the celery. It’s an undervalued vegetable and often an afterthought thrown into salads or soup stock, or served as crudités, or enjoyed with a Bloody Mary. But I love this vegetable. If I can have it stir-fried with loads of garlic, salt and white rice, I am a happy girl. I find the combination of medium-rare beef and celery divine, so here is my version of Cantonese black bean and beef, given a celery oomph. Serve it with plenty of rice.”
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon light soy sauce Pinch of ground white pepper 1/2 pound rib eye steak, cut into thin strips 4 celery ribs 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 cloves garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons water 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Mix cornstarch, soy sauce and white pepper together in a bowl. Add beef and stir to coat, then set aside for 20 minutes.
Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel a thin layer off the celery ribs, to ensure they’re not stringy. (You may not need to do this with today’s celery.) Then cut them lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide batons.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or frying pan until smoking, then add the marinated beef and fry over high heat for 30 seconds. Remove the beef and set aside. There might be bits of beef left in the wok or pan, but don’t worry – it all adds to the flavor of the dish.
Turn down the heat to medium, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the black pepper and garlic, and fry for 1 minute, until fragrant (be careful not to burn the mixture). Add the celery batons and fry for 2–3 minutes, then return the beef to the pan, add the water and oyster sauce. Stir and cook for 30 seconds longer. Serve immediately.