Celeriac – Don’t be Put Off by Its Appearance

Celeriac at JJ's stall at the Napier Urban Food Market

Celeriac at JJ’s stall at the Napier Urban Food Market

With a delicate celery taste, celeriac (pronounced sell-air-e-ak) is a rather unattractive root vegetable which is a delicious addition to winter meals. Also known as celery root it is a variety of celery which is cultivated for its root.

There are a number of growers in the Farmers’ Markets that grow this vegetable and as it is becoming more popular I am starting to see it in vegetable shops as well.

Coming into season now, all going well it should be around for most of the winter months and into early spring. Bulbs vary in size from small to very large.

SELECTING, STORING AND PREPARING CELERIAC

  • Selection: Choose bulbs which are firm and feel heavy for their size. Avoid those that are wrinkled, discoloured or have slug holes.
  • Preparing: Cut a slice from the top and bottom of each bulb. Place on a board, then using a sharp knife remove the tough outer skin by cutting in the curve from top to bottom of bulb. Rinse, and if needing to keep for more than a few minutes, place in
    acidulated water to prevent browning.
  • Storing: Celeriac will keep for 3-4 months if stored correctly. Store in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.

EASY IDEAS FOR USING CELERIAC

Celeriac Mash: Peel and dice bulbs. Place in cold, salted water and bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20minutes or until tender. Drain, add butter and milk or cream and mash. Note: you do not need as much butter and milk as you need for potatoes as when cooked celeriac is quite moist. Serve as a side dish instead of mashed potatoes. For a more substantial mash, cook with potatoes to make a celeriac and potato mash.

Curried Celeriac Wedges: Peel bulbs and cut into wedges. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, then add wedges and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain, return to saucepan, then add 1 tbsp curry powder, salt to taste and 1-2 tbsp olive oil and toss well to coat. Place wedges on baking tray and roast in a preheated 220°C oven for 30-35 minutes or until wedges are cooked through. Note: they do not tend to crispen as potatoes do, but are delicious never the less.

Celeriac Slaw: Prepare celeriac as described above, grate, toss in lemon juice and add to coleslaw.

Celeriac Remoulade: Peel and coarsely grate 1 large celeriac bulb, toss with a little lemon juice. Mix in ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tbsp grainy mustard and 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley. Serves 4 as a sidedish. As a light meal for 2, add some mung bean sprouts to the remoulade then top with crisp cooked bacon and accompany with crusty bread.

Happy cooking and eating.

Information complied by Rachel Blackmore

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4 thoughts on “Celeriac – Don’t be Put Off by Its Appearance”

  1. Roasted in the oven they are a real treat. Olive oil, sea salt, thyme. That’s it. And they soften faster than potatoes. Unbeatable with beaf dishes.

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