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celery root question

hi all

there is a salad at a restaurant that is just greens, herb-dijon dressing, and celery root "julienne" (sp?) i LOVE the celery root and want to make this salad this weekend but i dont think i have ever seen celery root in the store. how does it come? do i have to cut it open like a pineapple or something? do i just slice it up? cook it? any advice would be very appreciated! thanks!

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    That is what celeriac looks like. It is a root knob, It can be rather rather hairy and muddy. You need to pare it well because of the rough surface. The salad with a mustard vinaigrette is classic. It also makes a great celery soup combined with clelery, celery seed, butter, chicken stock and cream. It is more of a winter veg. and not often seen at this time of year. Best ones are available Oct-Feb.

    1. Look for a recipe for a recipe for celery remoulade. A local restaurant makes it and I can never get enough of it.

      1. Ja, I'd be surprised if you could find it this time of year in the States. If you have a local farmer's market, I'd ask any farmer who is selling celery whether you might be able to get some from him. It's the root of the celery plant. To prep, you rinse it well, then slice off the hard outer skin. I don't usually have the patience to julienne it; I grate it on a box grater into long shreds, marinate it a little while in a mustard-lemon juice -olive oil vinaigrette, and serve tossed in toasted poppyseeds.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gooseberry

          Celery and celeriac (celery root) and Lovage, sometimes called celeri batard are all related and have similar flavors, but they are not the same plants. Occasionally you can but celery root with the stems still attached and they will look a bit like puny little celery stalks, but is definitely not the root of celery. Sept. -May is the season for it.

          1. re: Candy

            I stand corrected. Thanks for the clarification, Candy.

        2. I love celeriac and still distinctly remember the look on the grocery checker's face when we first bought some a few months ago ("Er, what in the world is this?"). Most of the conventional grocery stores have it. It's placed really close to the lemongrass at the local Ralphs, and one time the store had mislabeled the lemongrass as celery root. It's actually quite easy to handle and prepare, but it requires a little bit of soaking before pealing or grating. We made a coleslaw using celery root for a picnic and it was a hit. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

          5 Replies
          1. re: OCKevin

            Why do you soak it before peeling/grating? It also grates up nicely in the food processor, and is wonderful cubed and roasted - has an entirely different flavor.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I have never soaked them prior to prep. I did see some in the grocery this aftrnoon. They were the sorriest looking celeriacs I have ever seen. Quite withered
              and dry looking and shrunken. They had been held in a produce warehouse way too long.

              1. re: MMRuth

                I like celeriac roasted, too. My mom also made a dish that she said was from the Irish side of the family: dice the celeriac in 1/2" dice and steam till just tender, dress with a mild vinaigrette and serve warm with grilled meats.

                I've taken to making a shallot vinaigrette with a bit of dijon mustard for this side. You cold also serve this chilled, as it's essentially a side salad, but I really like it warm. The leftovers are great in a green salad the next day.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I didn't think the soaking was a necessity,until I reviewed a couple of recipes we had, and both said something to the effect of soaking in water to prevent discoloration. But I'm glad to hear it's not a maker or breaker.

                  1. re: OCKevin

                    That would be acidulated water, like water and lemon juice, after peeling, like with apples etc.

              2. You can roast it in the oven. It can be boiled and pureed like potatoes. I like to eat it raw (as in Mexico) with some lime juice and chili powder. I add it raw to alot of salads. It's quite versatile and delicious.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Doreen

                  I have not tried celery root with lime and chili but have eaten jicama that way and it i quite tasty. I'll have to give it a try when the new crops start coming in.

                2. Ina Garten's version seems close to what you're looking for.
                  Seems also that while prepping, you should handle like apple or potato, they will turn brown. So use a little lemon juice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    I like to roast it along w/onions, garlic & cauliflower, then puree

                  2. Celeriac is delicious in a gratin, with high-quallty cheese, by itself or in combination with other vegetables.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: rcallner

                      It is a wonderful versatile vegetable and not enough people have been exposed to it.
                      It never fails when I buy one in the grocery store the checker and the other people in line want to know what it is. I really love the 3 Celery soup I mentioned above that used celeriac, celery, and celery seed in it. If any one is interested I can post the recipe. About a monrh and a half from now, amazing as it seems it will be back in season again.

                      1. re: Candy

                        I'd love that recipe - or a link to it .... (and I can't wait for fall to start setting in). Thanks!

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Melt 4 Tbs. butter in a soup pot ( I use a 5 qt. Le Creuset, it is perfect for this) over mediumish heat. Wilt a large sliced onion in the butter but do not brown it. Add a bay leaf, a large bunch of celery chopped and leaves reserved, 2 lbs. celeriac sliced thin, and 1 tsp. celery seed. Cook for about 10 mions being careful not to brown the veg. Then add 10 C. rich chicken stock (home made is preferable but I have used Kitchen Basics in a pinch) cover and bring to a boil. Then simmer 30 mins. Remove the lid and simmer an additional 30 mins.
                          Remove the bay leaf and if you have a hand blender just puree the soup in the pot. Other wise strain the soup and put the veg in a food processor with enough stock and puree. Return everything (except the bay leaf) to the pot. Add 1C. heavy cream. Cool the soup and refrigerate over night. Next day before serving taste to correct seasoning, and heat . Garnish each serving with some chopped celery leaves. I have also garnished with freshly made buttery croutons.

                          It is a very autumnal soup and makes a nice first course for Thanksgiving. Serves 8

                    2. Celery root, or Celeriac as it's sometimes called, is pretty much out-of season during the summer in the USA. I love the stuff, and when it is in season, I find myself frying it, braising it, using it in soups, and eating it raw. It can be found now mostly in ethnic shops, and at this point the roots are very small, and to my mind, not worth peeling. On the other hand, when they're big and spongy, they're best cooked rather than eaten raw. So perhaps medium sized roots during the winter months would be your best bet. Celeri remoulade is wonderful.

                        1. No one has mentioned, but celery root has an amazing affinity for chestnuts. You can use this combo in a soup, stew, or roasted veg dish.

                          Celery root is yummy peeled, chunked, and added to stew the way you would potatoes.

                          When buying, check to see if there seems to be one central stalk that was growing out of the root. If so, don't buy. Those seem to have an extra heavy fibrous layer under the skin that's a pain in the neck to carve away and wasteful besides. They should look like regular, though stringy, celery stalks that were growing from the top. Also, there is a spongy bit in the center of the root that you'll want to trim away, in any size.

                          Sorry I'm making it sound so complicated, but they are very yummy and lend themselves to a variety of preparations both hot and cold.

                          Wait til fall/winter for the good ones.