Contrary to popular belief, celery salt is not ground up celery mixed with salt. Or maybe that isn’t popular belief but until I started thinking about it I had no clue what was in that strange, bitter, salty mix that is necessary for a good Bloody Mary.

Oddly enough, I came across an unorthodox recipe in Fergus Henderson’s, The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating.  I love this book, but it can be terrifying to cook out of: I’m not sure where to get fresh pig spleen and I don’t even know what a woodcock is. So when I saw a very simple recipe for celery salt I decided to give it a go.

His recipe calls for mixing coarse sea salt with freshly peeled and grated celeriac, refrigerating for two days, slowly drying it out in the oven and then grinding the mix in a food processor.

If you’ve ever worked with celeriac, you know that grating it is no easy feat. But it’s worth the effort. The resulting celery salt was delicate, yet flavorful and produced some of the best Bloody Marys I’ve ever tasted.