The crisp green stalks of celery are often served raw or lightly cooked. Roasting brings out a completely different texture and flavor. Roast them in a liquid to prevent the celery stalks from burning or turning to mush. This infuses them with rich flavor, while tenderizing even the toughest of stalks. Select firm, crisp celery bunches with no discolorations or soft spots. Tender young stalks, which are not as stringy as older celery stalks, have the best texture for roasting.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut off the white root end of the celery bunch and trim off the leafy tops. Rinse the stalks in cool water, then cut them in half so they are all of roughly equal size.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the celery for about three minutes, then immediately transfer the stalks to a bowl of ice water so they cool quickly. Blanching the stalks in boiling water helps tenderize tough stalks and prevents discoloration during roasting.
Drain and pat dry the celery. Lay the stalks in a rimmed baking pan and add enough liquid to fill the pan to a 1/2- to 1-inch depth. Use apple juice for a sweet dish, or water or broth for a more savory dish.
Roast the celery for approximately 25 minutes, or until it begins to brown and most of the liquid has cooked off. Season with salt, pepper, honey, fresh parsley or your favorite herbs before serving.
Serve roasted celery with a cream or cheese sauce as a side dish on its own, or add it to other roasted vegetables or a warm salad.