AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Celery Root - Recipe Request DATE: 3/03/2009 11:54:00 AM ----- BODY:

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.

Celeriac Puree
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:

Wine Sauce
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.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Heather DATE:3/03/2009 03:06:00 PM i rally enjoy celery root, and kind of love its rough and tumble appearance. your recipes sound great! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Karen DATE:3/03/2009 04:55:00 PM Too much celery root? Your friend can give some to me...I was going to buy it at Whole Foods, but it was kind of squashy so I passed.

I've made celery root puree with apples, and a soup with celery root and pear, but I can't find those recipes! If I dig them up I'll post ' the meanwhile, I think you could substitute celery root for turnip in this recipe for saag (adapted from "The Complete Asian Cookbook," by Charmaine Solomon):

1 lb spinach or other greens
2 medium turnips or 1 giant white radish (like a daikon) or 1 celery root
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds or panch phora
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste (I use a lot less than that!)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Wash the greens and remove any tough stalks. Chop or tear the leaves into small pieces (I cheat and use baby spinach, no tearing or chopping required...).

Peel and dice the turnips/radish/celery root into ~1/2-inch cubes.

Heat the ghee or oil in a large pot and add the mustard seeds. Let the seeds fry until they begin to pop and then add the onion and ginger. Fry on medium heat until the onion is soft and golden.

Add the chili powder, turmeric, and salt; stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the diced turnip and a little water and stir. Cover and cook over low heat until the turnips are soft (check that they do not stick to the pot and add water as necessary). If you are using mature greens, add them to the pot now; stir occasionally as the greens cook down to ensure that everything cooks evenly.

Uncover the pot and mash the turnips with a potato masher or large wooden spoon. If you are using baby spinach, add it now: add a bunch of spinach to the pot, stir, cover and cook until the spinach wilts, then add another batch of spinach to the pot, etc.

Sprinkle the garam masala over the vegetables and simmer for another 5 min or so. If there is excess liquid, simmer longer. Mash everything together again, taste for seasoning and add a little lemon juice if desired.

Serve with rice and curries. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:3/03/2009 05:46:00 PM I love mixing my celery root puree with pureed mashed potaotes. It has such a great flavor! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener DATE:3/03/2009 05:49:00 PM and of course, it's delicious in any chunky soup. Just diced like you would potatoes, and add to the broth.

Such a tasty vegetable! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Mary DATE:3/04/2009 07:09:00 AM I, too, add celery root to mashed potatoes. Good stuff that! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you'll come often. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Grace DATE:3/04/2009 12:22:00 PM well, it sure is an ugly beast, but look at everything you can do with it! great post, julia. :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:3/04/2009 03:51:00 PM Heather -- Great description!

Karen -- I'm with you! Looks like a great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Noble Pig and Mary -- I think I'm the only one that like my celery root puree straight... I see you mix it with potatoes and Karen with apples...They all sound delicious!

Sylvie -- Brilliant... in a broth... I tend to pick the richer preparations, but I like this... light and clean.

Grace -- it is ugly, isn't it? But it's got a great personality! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger trapezeboy DATE:3/05/2009 06:15:00 PM I like to roast it along with potatoes and rutabaga, the standard olive oil, salt, pepper thing.

They are REALLY good as is, but I recently discovered making a curry out of them. The roasted flavor carries over nicely and it's super easy to do. Delish! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Karen DATE:10/15/2009 04:18:00 PM My great aunt always taught us to peel the root, slice it in 1/8th to 1/4th inch thickness, then cut into 1/6th's or 1/8th's wedges, steam until tender, drain, toss in olive oil, garlic and pepper to taste, chill and serve with in salads or on it's own with roast beef, grilled steak, roasted or grilled chicken, or a side for pasta. ----- --------