All about celeriac > from the market to the table
Though celery root is available throughout the winter, it’s in late summer and early autumn that it has the best flavor, when it has just been dug from the ground.
Look for a firm white bulb, unblemished and with a heavy feel. Avoid very large bulbs which are often hollow. Large celery roots can weigh up to 1 kg, but to serve four, choose a celeriac weighing about 400 g (14 oz.) for salad, and a large root (700-800 g / 1 2/3 lb.) to use in a purée.
Celeriac will keep well for long periods in a dark cool place. It needs a bit of humidity, because it tends to dry out easily. It doesn’t stand up to freezing.
Careful! It should be wrapped in a cloth so that other foods don’t absorb its odor.
Brush the celeriac under cold water, since it may still have bits of soil stuck between the roots.
Boil unpeeled until tender. Cool, peel and use as desired.
If raw it should be sprinkled with lemon juice, dipped in acidulated water or mixed immediately with a dressing to prevent oxidation.
- Boil, refresh in cold water, grate like noodles and serve in remoulade sauce.
- A variation on the classic celery remoulade: add a spoonful of grated apples, some strips of curly kale and some crushed walnuts.
- Raw in salad – with mussels and a dressing of mayonnaise thinned with milk.
Celeriac and smoked ham salad
Grate the celeriac and add 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil; let rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Serve topped with slices of smoked ham and some shavings of aged cheese.
Root vegetable salad
Wrap a celery root in aluminum foil and cook in the oven for a good hour or until a knife can be inserted easily. Set aside. Cook 2 beets in boiling water; drain and peel. Set aside. Slice the celery root and beets and place in a salad bowl. Add some shallots, oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
- Celeriac “cakes” – grated and cooked in a mixture of butter and oil as you would make potato pancakes.
- Alone, or combined with leeks, in a gratin.
- Braised to accompany white meats.
- Steamed or boiled, its flavor becomes milder. It can then be used in soups, stews or purées.
- Puréed with mashed potatoes and a pinch of nutmeg. Add a quarter of a green apple to lend a pleasant note of acidity.
- Stuffed, country-style – with chopped onions and carrots; cover with Gruyère and butter; cook in the oven in broth.
Slice the celeriac into thin slices and fry in hot oil for a few moments; drain on paper towels. Serve as a snack or use to cover a grilled fish.
A simple tasty seasoning that you can make with peelings from celeriac; grind a handful of dried celeriac peels in a blender with a handful of very dry coarse sea salt. Store in a closed jar or metal box and use to flavor stocks, soups and sauces.
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