Celery root, potato, and pear gratin
We are looking to do this gratin from Spike Mendelsohn and had a question for anyone who has ever used celery root in a gratin. His technique involves slicing the celery root and potatos a quarter-inch thick, then pan roasting in a single layer for about 10 minutes per batch. As we are looking to double this recipe, the amount of time needed to pan roast these veggies + baking off the gratin would be considerable.
I was wondering if this step of 'par-cooking' was necessary because if they went in raw, the layer of pear on top would overcook by the time the potato and celery root were finished? I noticed that other celery root gratin recipes that included other fruits like apples always involved a step of cooking the celery root and potato before adding it to the casserole dish(even saw one that recommended steaming the CR and potato for 5 mins.)
Never cooked with this vegetable before and would love any feedback. Thanks in advance and Happy Thanksgiving!
Celery root is quite a tough vegetable. Be sure you pare it deeply. I made Jodie Adams' Celery root, potato, cranberry, leek, chestnut gratin, and it baked for an hour and a half. Only the leeks were sauteed first.
Celeriac (Celery Root) as its called in the UK seems to cook a little faster than Potato in my Opinion. but both will take longer than the pears - which, as you say, is probably why they are cooked a bit beforehand.
In practice I'd say the celery and potato take about the same amount of time if similar thicknesses. Perhaps you could par-boil the root vegetables in large peices. although they might get a bit wet. I think you have a problem.
As you won't serve individual slices of pear but rather cut pieces of the gratin (or scoop with a spoon), I don't think it matters if the pear is slightly overcooked. Maybe choose a pear which is not too soft to start with?
Straight potato and celeriac gratin works very well when I cut the vegetables in thin slices and put in everything raw - I have never added a pear.
Some people like to start their gratin off on the stove-top until the cream bubbles, which would give the bottom layers a head start.
We use celeriac and potato together in a gratin quite often and cook it the same as we would for an all potato gratin.
I've not come across a recipe before which topped the gratin with fruit and would have to say that such a thing wouldnt be to my taste at all.