Magazine article Sunset

Celery's Downstairs Cousin Goes into Crunchy Winter Salads

Magazine article Sunset

Celery's Downstairs Cousin Goes into Crunchy Winter Salads

Article excerpt

Upstairs, downstairs is the relationship of celery and celery root. Celery is grown for its fat stalks. Its underground relative, celery root or celeriac, is a tuber with a mild flavor and texture combining the crunch of celery with the smoothness of potatoes; the top is just a cluster of thin stems. Once found only in winter, it is now available most of the year. For best quality, select firm celery root.

To cook celery root for the following salads, peel 2 pounds of celery root and trim off top and irregular root end. Rinse and pat dry. Cut into about 1/8-inch julienne sticks or 1/2-inch cubes. In a 4- to 5-quart pan, bring 2 quarts water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar to boiling over high heat. Add celery root and boil, uncovered, until tender to bite, about 5 minutes for julienne pieces and 10 minutes for cubes. Drain; use warm or at room temperature. Celeriac Waldorf Cooked celery root (see preceding directions) Watercress mayonnaise (directions follow) Lemon juice Salt 3 medium-size red-skinned apples Walnut halves or pieces Watercress springs Lemon wedges

In a bowl, blend celery root with watercress mayonnaise. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or as long as 2 days.

Cut apples in half lengthwise; core, then slice into thin wedges and coat with lemon juice to prevent darkening. Arrange apple wedges on 6 salad plates. Mound celery root mixture equally on top of apples. Garnish each salad with walnuts, watercress sprigs, and lemon wedges. Makes 6 servings.

Watercress mayonnaise. In a blender, combine 1 egg, 1/4 cup lightly-packed watercress leaves, and 1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard and white wine vinegar; whirl until blended. With motor running, add 1 cup salad oil, in a thin stream at first, then faster as mayonnaise thickens. …

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