A recent recipe that called for celeriac, also known as celery root, prompted a question from a reader: What do you do with it?
It’s very simple, and it’s a tasty alternative to potatoes, especially if you are looking to cut back on carbohydrates in your diet. The root has between 7 and 9 grams of carbs per cup, depending on which nutritional guide you pay attention to.
It’s also low in calories and a good source of both vitamin C and phosphorus, according to nutritiondata.self.com. Magnesium, manganese and potassium are other pluses you get from this root vegetable.
Let’s start at the supermarket, where the roots are usually stores in the produce section near other exotics. At my H-E-B, it can generally be found near the daikon, when it’s available, and the bok choy.
Choose one that is hard. It could be gnarled or knobby. Some stores sell them in various sizes and by the pound; others offer larger versions that given a per-root price.
You don’t need to wash it. Just set it on its side and cut the bottom off of it.
Then set the cut side down on your board and proceed to peel it with a sharp knife the way you would a pineapple until all sides are cleaned.
Then you can cut it into slices and finally into cubes. Or you can cut it into larger chunks in order to grate it. Slice into wedges and prepare it as you would steak fries. Use a mandolin and cut thin slices to be fried up as chips.
That’s about all it takes.
Then, it’s time to start cooking.
You can use celeriac in this parsley soup. Or try this recipe for celeriac gratin from Martha Stewart that bubbles up with flavor from two cheeses, cream, nutmeg and Dijon mustard in addition to the celeriac.
Martha Stewart’s Celeriac Gratin
Unsalted butter, for the dish
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 medium bulbs celeriac
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Butter a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish. Scatter shallots over bottom of dish. Peel celeriac and cut into 1/4-inch slices, and then julienne. Arrange evenly in gratin dish. Sprinkle thyme leaves over celeriac.
In a small bowl, whisk together cream, mustard, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Pour over celeriac, and sprinkle with cheeses. Cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil, and continue baking until top is brown and bubbly and cream is thickened and reduced, about 20 more minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings.