Why This Recipe Works
To update our braised celery recipe, we first reconsidered the braising liquid, settling on a mixture of water, butter, and vermouth. The butter served to enrich the flavor of the sauce and the vermouth contributed a needed touch of herbal sweetness and acidity. Still looking for more flavor, we added celery seed. Preparation turned out to be important to our braised celery: Peeling improved the texture and color of the dish (by removing strings as well as the surface green color that tended to go drab when cooked), and splitting the ribs lengthwise, then cutting them into 2-inch pieces, leveled their size and shape enough to let them cook evenly.