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It's not pretty

Posted by Sheryl Julian  April 12, 2010 02:24 PM

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Celeriac, also known as celery root, looks other-worldly, as if not intended for human consumption. Beneath that knobby exterior is a sweet, firm root, with the taste of a turnip but no bite, a carrot with more depth, faint branch celery overtones.

The French are famous for their celeri remoulade, in which the knob is shredded, blanched, and tossed with homemade mayonnaise. I patiently shredded the root by hand (couldn't after a considerable search, find the attachment to the food processor, but found lots of other misplaced items), dropped it into boiling water, refreshed it, shook it to dry the strands a little, then mixed it with commercial mayo -- this isn't France, no need to get out the whisk and make your own -- and lots of vinegar, capers, Dijon mustard, and parsley.

Celeri remoulade
(Celery root in mustard mayonnaise)
Serves 4

Celery root discolors quickly. After grating, quickly transfer it to a bowl of water and vinegar. Then blanch it in vinegar water, so the shreds stay bright white.

1 large celeriac
2 tablespoons cider or distilled vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of the cider or distilled vinegar.
2. Peel the celery root, cut it into quarters. With the tip of a paring knife, remove and discard any of the spongy flesh in the center of the root.
3. Grate the pieces and quickly transfer them to the vinegar water.
4. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of cider or distilled vinegar. Drain the celery root. Add it to the boiling water. When the water returns to a boil, cook 1 minute. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water until the shreds are no longer hot. Shake the colander to remove excess water.
5. Let the celery root sit until cool, shaking the colander occasionally to remove any water.
6. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the capers.
7. Tip the celery root into the mayonnaise mixture. Use tongs to mix the salad. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with parsley and toss again. Sheryl Julian

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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