Rough around the edges it may be, but behind celeriac’s shaggy facade lies a refreshing texture and mild, hint-of-celery flavour that’s just perfect for lightening up heavy winter meals.
Celeriac is the root of the celery plant. Opt for small roots that feel firm and heavy for their size. Store in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. Think of it like a lighter version of potato, but more versatile as you can eat it both raw and cooked. Raw it’s crisp and crunchy and cooked it’s lovely and creamy.
Whole celeriac is a thing and makes a lovely vegetable showpiece for a winter dinner party: scrub the outside of the root and remove any long roots but leave the skin on, pierce the outside a dozen or so times, and rub the outside with olive oil, flaky salt, and any spices you’re keen on. Wrap in tinfoil and roast for around two hours, remove the foil and cook for another 30 mins or so. To serve, top with fresh herbs or za’atar and a dollop of creme fraiche or labneh, and slice into wedges.
For other dishes, you’ll want to peel the skin off, then dice, slice or julienne as you like. Remoulade is the perfect chaser for rich slow-cooked beef cheek or grilled salmon: combine julienned celeriac with a good mayonnaise and whatever things you’d like to boost flavour with (dill, parsley, capers, cornichons, onion, Dijon mustard, raw apple).
Sliced thinly, it’s a fabulous topping for tarts or pizzas. Try it with scamorza and mushrooms, or with caramelised onion and Gruyere – drizzle over plenty of good oil to serve (celeriac loves nut oils like hazelnut or walnut, as well as fruity olive oils).
It makes beautifully creamy mash, and soup, pairing well in this approach with flavour boosters like garlic, truffle, parmesan, porcini, roasted hazelnuts, either blended in or used as toppers. Grate it to make rosti, on its own or together with potato these make a fantastic brunch topped with things like poached eggs, prosciutto, hot smoked salmon, creme fraiche, pink pickled onions and dill.