From time to time, we get some weird looking produce on our shelves (remember burdock root?) Today, itÕs celeriac. Referred to by some as celery root, this knobby, globular vegetable is a bit of a wallflower, getting passed over next to the turnips, rutabega, and other spherical roots in the produce bins, but it has a fresh, bright, and delicate flavor that is great in a variety of preparations, and definitely deserves some quality time in your kitchen.
The first step in using celeriac is to accept it for itÕs rugged, bulbous exterior. The next step is to get rid of that exterior! The outer peel is tough and bumpy, so a paring knife, rather than a peeler works best. Safety first, people! Once youÕve got the pretty, ivory-colored flesh of the celeriac exposed, youÕre ready to make something delicious. There are countless recipes that avail themselves with a simple Google search, but here are the three most common preparations. Variations on each abound, should you have the time and interest to experiment with this versatile new addition to your repertoire.
Yes, I know. The idea of turning the oven on with summer approaching is a little insane, but if youÕre like me, roasted vegetables are just too good to abstain from during the hotter months. Plus, letÕs be real: the A/C will be blasting. As with most other vegetables, roasting celeriac brings out a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside texture and a caramelized flavor. Try roasting celeriac, golden beets, and another of your favorite root vegetables for a new take on a classic. You just need to toss them in olive oil and salt and pepper to let the natural flavors shine through.
This is where celeriac can replace potatoes as a popular side dish, decreasing the amount of starch on the plate. If youÕre following the paleo lifestyle and youÕre sick to death of cauliflower mash, well, hereÕs your ticket out of food boredom. For the most mouth-watering, punch-packing flavor, simmer chunks of celeriac in stock for about 20 minutes or so, stirring occassionally until its tender enough to mash with your spoon. You can transfer it to a food precessor, or use an emersion blender to get it really smooth, but its equally delicious if its a little chunky (you know, homestyle). To finish*, stir in salt & pepper, fresh dill and garlic powder to further mimic and subdue the craving for mashed potatoes.
*The result using just stock is very creamy and delicious, so adding a dairy (like butter or sour cream or non-dairy alternative as you would in mashed potatoes) isn’t necessary, BUT it would probably take it to the next level of deliciousness. Celeriac does have a brightness to it, similar to anise, so adding butter might help balance that out a bit.
Go Raw with Slaw.
When raw, celeriacÕs flavor is like if celery and a white turnip had a baby. It pairs well with crisp, tart apples, fennel, carrotsÉbasically, you can add it to whatever else is in your go-to slaw recipe. If you want to be fancy and pretend youÕre French, try this one with a tangy Dijon dressing.
This really only scratches the surface when it comes to celeriac. ItÕs probably lovely brushed with olive oil and crushed red pepper and added to grilled kabobs. Shave it into thin slices and add it to a fresh summer salad. I’m sure it shines during soup season. However you want to experiment with it, put some in your basket this week and let us know how it goes!