Once upon a time there was a vegetable with an identity crisis. Some called it celeriac, others celery root. Oddly, both are correct. No matter what name you call it, this very unattractive root vegetable that has more wrinkles than a Shar-Pei and takes quite a bit of effort to peel is so worth it.
Like so many other root vegetables, celeriac is a chameleon. By chameleon I mean that this mellow-tasting vegetable takes on and enhances the flavors of the herbs and spices of any dish its incorporated into. By itself its as if celery and parsley got married and had a delicious baby.
No matter how much you peel it, you wont get it totally smooth because of all the little nooks and crannies. Use a paring or chefs knife to trim until the entire brown exterior is removed and that will be good enough.
Roasted Celeriac and Rosemary
2 pounds celery root, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
1 pound baby carrots
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine celery root, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper and the rosemary; toss until coated. Spoon celery root in a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. While the celery root is cooking, combine the carrots, the remaining olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and the balsamic vinegar in a bowl; toss until coated. Add the carrots to baking pan with the celery root. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the vegetables are cooked but still crunchy. Remove from the oven, toss to combine and serve. Serves 6 to 8. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Bacon and Celery Root Anna
4 bacon slices
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds celery root
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, drained and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp, and crumble. Melt butter and lightly brush over bottom and sides of a well-seasoned cast-iron or non-stick 10-inch skillet.
With a sharp knife peel celery root and, using a mandolin or other manual slicer, cut crosswise into 1/16 -inch thick slices. Arrange 1 slice in center of skillet and arrange one layer of slices around center slice in a concentric circle, overlapping them slightly. Lightly brush layer with some of melted butter (being careful not to move slices) and sprinkle with one third bacon, 1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan, 3/4 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon olives and salt and pepper to taste. Repeat procedure twice but reverse direction of slices each time so that layers are even. Add one more layer of celery root. Brush top with any remaining butter and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan and remaining thyme. Cover top of skillet tightly with foil and bake celery root in middle of oven 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, or until celery root is tender and top and edges are golden brown. Transfer with 2 large spatulas to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serves 6 to 8.
– Modified from Gourmet, November 1997
Tomato and Celeriac Lasagna
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Kosher salt
3 pounds celery root, peeled and sliced thin (use a mandolin or vegetable slicer)
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tomatoes, sliced and seeded
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set it aside. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Add the celery root. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain, pressing out the excess water. Dry on paper towels. In a saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, oregano, basil, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Heat to a simmer.
Layer 1/3 of the celery root on the bottom of the greased dish. Spoon 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese on top of the tomato sauce. Repeat two more times ending with the tomato sauce. Place the sliced tomatoes over top of the Parmesan cheese and then sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese on top. (The dish can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated overnight. Bring the lasagna to room temperature before baking.) Bake 40 to 50 minutes. The top should be golden and bubbly. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. Serves 6 to 8.
– Modified from TastyTidbits.com