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Dutiful, wholesome, satisfying ... celery root is the winter cook's friend.

Dutiful, wholesome, satisfying . . . celery root is the winter cook's friend

Drab, gnarled, rough--not adjectives suggestiveof beauty, but they do describe celery root. Although ugly, it's packed with culinary potential, and in its prime these cool months.

Is this vegetable the root of green celerystalks? No. It's the root of celeriac, a member of the same family grown just for the root. The leaves taste similar, and both plants evolved from a wild celery native to Mediterranean marshlands.

Wholesome, satisfying, and with a pronouncedcelery flavor, celery root is good raw or cooked. Used raw in a salad, its subtle nut-like flavor is accented by wild rice. Shredded celery root combined with chilies makes an intriguing salsa. And when baked, or simmered and whipped, with carrots and potatoes, celery root makes a fine vegetable dish.

Wild Rice and Celery Root Salad

2/3 cup wild riceWater

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup each cider vinegar and olive orsalad oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 medium-size (about 3/4 lb.) celeryroot

3 large stalks celery, thinly sliced

Rinse rice in a fine strainer under hotrunning water. Pour rice into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until tender to bite, about 45 minutes. Drain rice; let stand until cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine lemonjuice, vinegar, oil, and mustard; stir well. Scrub celery root; cut off coarse skin and any dark spots, then cut into 1/8- by 1-inch sticks; as cut, mix with dressing in bowl to prevent discoloration. Add sliced celery and rice; mix well.

Serve, or cover and chill up to overnight.Pour salad onto a platter and garnish with watercress; add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Celery Root Salsa

1 large (about 1 lb.) celery root

1/3 cup lime juice

Tomatillo sauce (recipe follows)

Scrub celery root. Cut off coarse skin andany dark spots. Shred by hand or with a food processor. In a large bowl, mix shredded celery root with lime juice and tomatillo sauce.

Cover salsa and chill at least 1 hour or upto 3 days; mix before serving. Makes about 4 cups; allow 1/3 to 1/2 cup for a serving.

Tomatillo sauce. In a bowl, mix 2 cans(13 oz. each) tomatillos, drained and chopped; 2 green onions (roots trimmed), including part of green tops, thinly sliced; 1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chilies; and 1 fresh jalapeno chili or serrano chili, stemmed, seeded, and minced.

A Trio of Whipped Roots

1 medium-size (about 3/4 lb.) celery rootAbout 1 1/4 cups regular-strength chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped shallots

2 large (about 1 lb.) russet potatoes,peeled

2 medium-size carrots, peeled

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper

Scrub celery root. Cut off coarse skin andany dark spots; cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Put cubes in a 4- to 6-quart pan and add 1 cup broth and shallots. Bring to boiling on high heat; cover and cook 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut potatoes into 1/2-inchcubes. Shred carrots by hand or with a food processor. Add potatoes and carrots to celery root. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until vegatables are very tender when pierced, about 15 minutes.

With a hand-held electric mixer (you canuse a potato masher, though texture will be coarser, but do not use a food processor), whip vegetables with butter, honey, and remaining broth until smooth. If you like a softer mixture, whip in a little more broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Makes 5 to 7 servings.

A Trio of Baked Roots

Following directions for a trio of whippedroots, preceding, cut up celery root, carrots, shallots, and potatoes. Use only 1/2 cup chicken broth. Also measure the honey and butter.

In a well-buttered shallow 2-quart casserole,mix celery root, carrots, shallots, potatoes, broth, and honey. Spread vegetables out in an even layer and dot with butter, cut into small pieces. Cover casserole tightly with foil. Bake in a 400| oven until vegetables are tender when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake until vegetables are lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons minced green onions or parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4 to 6.

Photo: Grated cheese? No, it's shredded celeryroot--in a salsa with tomatillos and chilies. Try this salsa with grilled lamb

Photo: White slivers of celery root, green celery slices, and wildrice make an intriguingly textured salad suited to rare roasts and game entrees. Celery root's knobby brown exterior (below) hides its ivory color; peel, then serve raw or cook

Photo: Watercress sprigs, optionalSalt and pepper

Photo: Cut brown skin off celery root. Dice rootand potatoes; shred carrots. Boil, then whip together for a tasty vegetable puree
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Mar 1, 1987
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