Celery root: It's not pretty, but it's pretty tasty in slaw.
Byline: Melissa D'Arabian
It wasn't until I lived in France that I fully appreciated how underused celeriac -- also called celery root -- is here in the U.S.
In France, this knobby-root cousin of the celery we are more familiar with is used in soups, as a puree, raw in salads, as well as in a typical French slaw-like dish called "celeri remoulade.''
Celery root imparts a celery-like flavor that softens when cooked. In purees (peel, cube, boil and mash), try pairing it with other tubers, such as a potato or yam, to balance out the celery flavor. Raw, celeriac works best when thinly sliced, julienned or grated.
In the produce aisle, look for a bumpy small globe about the size of a large softball. Sometimes the flavorful (but fibrous) stalks are attached, which can be cut off and used as an aromatic, primarily for building flavor in broths or braising liquids.
Celery root is a good source of filling fiber and vitamin C, but the big nutritional selling point is the amount of vitamin K packed into this ugly little veggie, with just one serving giving us about half our daily requirement. Vitamin K gets woefully little air time, but it plays an important role in blood and bone health. And don't forget the very basic benefit of trying new things, which keeps eaters engaged and meals interesting.
In my celery root and chipotle remoulade slaw, I've added some smoky spice and tart apples because I love the way the grassy celery flavor balances sweet heat. But feel free to play with flavors in the spirit of building produce-aisle fluency.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy.'' www.melissadarabian.net