February 2, 2011

Experimenting With Celery Root

In our continuing exploration of in-season and often under-used vegetables, say hello to celeriac, a.k.a. celery root.

With a face that only a mother celeriac could love, this has got to be one of the uglier vegetables in the produce aisle. That said, it’s also one of the tastiest.

Making this celery root recipe marked the first time I had ever cooked with celeriac. I was a total novice, I’ll admit. But I wasn’t nervous.

I figured, it’s a root vegetable, how difficult could this be?

Once I cut away at its gnarly exterior, I found it to be creamy white on the inside. I nibbled at it raw and noticed it had a mild celery flavour that would instantly perk up boring old mashed potatoes — with the potatoes being a supporting cast member, not the main player.

After a bit of peeling and dicing, then some boiling and mashing, the ugly duckling emerged a swan.

Celery Root Mash Recipe

(serves 4)

1 celery root (or celeriac)
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Slice off all the bumpy, dirty outer skin of the celery root until you only have white flesh. Rinse, then chop into medium chunks. Put in a large pot and cover with cold water. Pop on the lid and bring to a boil, then partially remove lid, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Peel and cut potatoes into likewise chunks, and add to the pot of cooking celeriac. Cook for another 30 minutes, or until celeriac and potatoes are both completely soft.

Step 3: Drain into a colander, then add them back to the pot. Mash together, or use a ricer for a perfectly smooth consistency. Add butter and stir thoroughly, then add salt and pepper to taste. (It may seem like a lot of butter, but the butter makes it.)

For more root vegetable recipes, click here.

Photo credits:
Amy Rosen