Just this morning, a friend lamented the vast quantities of celery root in his organic produce delivery box. For the benefit of my friend and the other customers receiving deliveries from Boston Organics, I've put together this compilation of recipes. Feel free to add your favorite recipe suggestions in the comments.
With a mild celery flavor, celeriac looks similar to a jicama, and is often confused at the supermarket. But its fuzzy exterior and knobby roots on the bottom distinguish it. And if you still can’t tell the difference, take a whiff – you’ll get a faint smell of celery. The celery root comes from the leaf celeri variety, which is different than the variety from which we get stalks.
The root’s minimal starch content makes this an easy vegetable to cook. And my favorite preparation, pureed with a little cream and lemon juice, capitalizes on this. Pureed celery root is a great side dish for pork, duck, braised short-ribs or salmon. Mine second favorite preparation: served with smoked salmon as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvre.
Alternatively, you can cook the celery root in cream and use the cooked root and cream to toss with pasta. No matter how you cook the celery root, it’s best to cook it in liquid. And like all root vegetables, start with cold water.
Celery root can also be eaten raw. Most commonly, it’s sliced into thin strips (julienne) and tossed with a mayonnaise based dressing: a French variation of coleslaw called Remoulade.
2 knobs celery root (celeriac)
½ cup cream
salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
Using a paring knife, peel celery root. Cut into 1/8th.
Put celery root in a pot and cover by one inch with cold ,salted water. Boil the be-jeebies out of it, approximately 15 minutes (more or less depending on how small the pieces are). When you can easily poke the celery root with a fork ,they’re tender. Drain, reserving about ½ cup of water.
Put in a food processor, and puree with cream. Adjust consistency with water. Add lemon juice, 1 squeeze at a time, until it is seasoned to your taste. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
When serving celeriac puree as a side dish to salmon, duck or pork, consider one of these two wine sauces which will further enhance the flavors:
1 cup red wine or port
1/2 lemon juiced
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 cup chicken broth, cream or water (or combination)
1 – 2 sticks butter
Melt 1 tbs. butter in a sauce pan. Add shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes or until soft. Add wine, and let it reduce to about 2 tbs. Add chicken broth (or other liquid) and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and whisk in butter, 2 tbs. at a time - for a total of 1/4 -1/2 lb. depending on your taste. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and a small squeeze of lemon juice
Caramelized Balsamic Sauce
½ cup sugar
1 tbs. garlic, chopped
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. juniper berries, crushed
Put sugar and garlic in a pot, with 1/2 cup of water. Put over high heat, and stir just until sugar dissolves. Continue cooking without stirring, until sugar turn a deep golden color. Add balsamic, carefully, and juniper berries. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes, until sugar redissolves, and the sauce reduces by 1/4. Remove from heat, and keep in warm place. Strain out juniper berries before serving.
Celery Root Remoulade
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon drained bottled capers, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh tarragon, minced, or ¼ tsp. dried.
2 small celery roots, peeled and cut into matchstick pieces or shredded coarse
In a small bowl combine ingredients for dressing: mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice, capers, mustard, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combined well. Toss with celery root. Chill until ready to serve. Makes a great side dish for crab cakes or grilled fish.