Brushing up on... Celeriac
That thing you pull from your fresh veggie box, the one which has you thinking of the mandrakes from scenes in Harry Potter's herbology class? Bulbous and knobby, with squiggly roots? Yep, that one. That is a celeriac. Aromatic and quite versatile, this variety of celery grown intentionally for the root bulb are just a bit misunderstood. Let's fix that. Beneath its rough and sometimes hairy looking exterior lies a creamy white interior; it is mild and surprisingly delicious, whether raw (light and crisp, with hints of celery and parsley) or cooked (brings out the sweetness).
Soak and scrub well to remove stubborn dirt and grit, paying particular attention to the roots which tend to hide extra soil and even small stones. Use a sharp paring knife to carefully remove the root areas you're unable to clean around. Folks often peel the skin from the bulb, though I make the call depending upon the final product because the peel is edible and nutritious; if it's bound for something I want to be smooth like a mash or silky like a creamy soup, peel away; if I'm roasting it in chunks or as a whole I like to leave the skin on. It is often easier to peel using a steady hand and sharp knife rather than a vegetable peeler, since then bumpy skin can be tough for the latter. Shave downward in large broad strokes to remove the skin.
Raw celeriac is delicious and crunchy, with a distinct celery-like aroma;
-Shred up a bulb to toss in salads, or grate to make a refreshing slaw with celeriac and apple.
-Slice thin for a lunch platter with dips.
Cooking brings out a natural nutty sweetness;
-Chop into rough chunks to oven roast, coated in olive oil and sea salt.
-Cut like a chip to bake or fry.
-Boil and mash for a warming alternative to mashed potatoes (see recipe archives for a Celeriac & Root Veg Mash).
-Dice and add to hearty winter stews.
-Spiralize for spaghetti-like strands, served in a buttery sauce.
-Purèe into a creamy, silky soup.
-Slice and layer into a cheesy gratin.
-Wrap and slow bake whole for a tender, juicy dish with no waste.
-Keep clean peels for making stock!
Celeriac will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks, though you should use it while the bulb is still firm. If there are stems attached, remove before storing; like a carrot bunch, the leaves and stems will continue to draw moisture from the root. Once peeled the celeriac will brown, much like a skinned apple, so a bath of water with a touch of lemon juice or vinegar will keep it from oxidising. It doesn't freeze well, unless it's been cooked, in which case you could pop it into the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Have questions about celeriac or another unknown vegetable from your box? Need inspiration for something new to do with the tried-and-true? Made one of the shared recipes? Let us know! Message or tag @streamsideorganics and @nakedcakesandwholefoods
Created by Elena Keir of Naked Cakes and Wholefoods