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How to Peel a Celery Root


An unpeeled celeriac, also known as a celery root.

A recent recipe that called for celeriac, also known as celery root, prompted a question from a reader: What do you do with it?

Start by cutting off the bottom.

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.

Peel off the sides, as you would a pineapple.

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.

You can cut celeriac in different ways, depending on how you're going to use it.

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.

From Martha Stewart/Martha Stewart Living

 

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Celery Root and Apple Purée


Celery root is also known as celeriac.

“Cooking watery or fibrous root vegetables like celery roots, turnips, carrots, rutabagas and beets with a little white rice ensures that they will be exceptionally creamy and have a very pure flavor,” writes Sally Schneider in “A New Way to Cook.” “The apples enhance and sweet the vegetables. … This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Do not double or triple the amount of milk, though — use just enough to cover the celery root by 1 1/2 inches.”

Celery Root and Apple Purée

1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 cups milk (can use low-fat)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons white rice
2 small Macintosh apples (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored and quartered or 1 small pear, peeled, quartered and cored
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place the celery root in a medium saucepan, add the milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a grinding or two of pepper, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Stir in the rice, lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the apples and simmer for 10 minutes longer, or until the celery root is very tender. (The milk will curdle, but the curds will be incorporated when the celery root is puréed.) Drain the mixture in a colander set over a bowl; save the cooking liquid.

In a food processor, purée the celery root mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, until perfectly smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of cooking liquid if necessary (Save the remaining flavorful liquid for soup; it can be frozen.) Process for several minutes more, scraping down the sides several times, until you have a fine purée. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add the butter and process to blend.

You can make the purée several hours ahead and reheat it (or keep it warm), stirring frequently in a covered double boiler.

Makes 4 servings.

From “A New Way to Cook” by Sally Schneider

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Chefs’ Corner: A Simple Summer Salad from Il Sogno


Celebrate the freshness of summer with a salad featuring the bright flavors of apple, celeriac and fennel. It goes together easily, especially if you have a mandoline to cut the vegetables and the apple to a paper thinness.

At Il Sogno, Andrew Weissman’s Italian restaurant in the Pearl Brewery complex, 200 E. Grayson St., this dish is featured among the array of antipasti.

Fennel, Apple and Celery Root Salad

1 Granny Smith apple, sliced paper thin
Celery root, or celeriac, sliced thin, to taste (see note)
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin with fronds reserved
Olive oil, to taste
Salt, to taste
Trace amount of lemon juice, to taste

Note: When slicing the celery root, or celeriac, use about as much as you use apple.

Toss apple, celery root and fennel bulb together in a non-reactive bowl with a little olive oil, a pinch of salt, or more to taste, and a splash of lemon juice. Add some finely minced fennel frond. Serve immediately.

Source: Andrew Weissman/Il Sogno

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Celery Root and Apple Salad (Insalata di Mele)


Lydia1 (1)The flavor of the tender celery root mingles well with the crisp texture and light sweetness of the apples. A tart dressing with olive oil and mustard,  and garnish of chives, finished the salad off.  It paired well with the Bastianich Friulano 2007.  You can find the Bastianich wines at Central Market.

Celery Root and Apple Salad (Insalata di Mele)

1 (2-pound) whole celery root, rinsed well but not peeled
1 pound firm, crisp apples (such as Granny Smith, Gravenstein, Jonathan, Gala or Fuji)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon German-style mustard (coarse ground)
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Note: Recommended equipment: A large bowl for dressing, tossing and serving.

Put celery root into a large saucepan with cold water to cover, and heat to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and simmer celery root for about an hour or so until cooked through and tender. As it cooks, keep the root weighted down with a plate or pot lid. When you can easily pierce it with a skewer, drain it in a colander and cool.

When it is cool, peel the celery root by scraping off the skin with the dull side of a paring knife. Cut out the bits of skin in the folds and knobby parts. Cut celery root in half, and slice each half into thin half-moons; put these in a large bowl. (If the celery root is a bit fibrous, cut slices into thin matchsticks.)

Rinse apples well, but do not peel them. Slice them in half, through the stem and bottom ends and cut out seeds and cores. Slice halves crosswise into half-moons, about 1/8-inch thick, add to the bowl, and gently toss the celery root and apple slices together.

[amazon-product]0307267512[/amazon-product]For dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl, then whisk in the olive oil gradually, until smooth and emulsified. Pour dressing over the celery root and apples, sprinkle the chives on top and tumble to coat all the slices with dressing. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Note: Lidia Bastianich suggests adding thinly sliced prosciutto to the plate to make this salad a more substantial antipasto, as she did for the KLRN Chef Series, Nov. 1.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes”by Lidia Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

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