Magazine article Sunset

Dutiful, Wholesome, Satisfying ... Celery Root Is the Winter Cook's Friend

Magazine article Sunset

Dutiful, Wholesome, Satisfying ... Celery Root Is the Winter Cook's Friend

Article excerpt

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. …

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