Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Celery root

Celery root could be the poster child for the maxim, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s hard to find anything new to say about its appearance: it’s hairy, it’s brown, it looks unappetizing, and it’s easy to pass over in the produce aisle. I always have. But at this time of year in Missouri, pickings are slim if you’re trying to eat seasonally. Faced with a choice between a hairy, brown but reasonably priced lump or some jet-set produce worth a considerable chunk of my weekly grocery budget, I decided to be adventurous. I bought a celery root, took it home, let it languish in the crisper drawer for two weeks, and then went looking for a way to cook it.

And finished off my food adventure, as usual, by kicking myself over how much of my life I’ve wasted not eating this.

Celery root soup
Loosely based upon a recipe from bluestem: the cookbook

Following my usual soup spec, I peeled and chopped up the celery root (and the attached celery stalks and leaves), plus some red onion. I threw these into the pan to sauté briefly, then added in a couple of cloves of roasted garlic that I had in the fridge. After a few minutes, I poured in about half a cup of prosecco (the last of a bottle sitting on the counter), then put in just enough vegetable stock to cover the chopped vegetables. I brought this to a simmer and let it do its thing for about 15-20 minutes, then went at it with my trusty stick blender. After puréeing it, I may have added a bit more stock to thin it a bit, and then stirred in a healthy dollop of crème fraiche. I finished it off with some salt and freshly ground pepper. In keeping with its origins, it was not the most attractive color—kind of beige—but full of flavor.


Justine said... Best Blogger Tips

How funny. I just sat down in my kitchen, with dinner cooking away, to read my blogs. I opened yours and had to laugh. Guess what I'm cooking? Celery root, of course! I like to pull the old switcheroo with mashed potatoes, like you would with cauliflower. Half chicken stock, half low-fat milk, simmer the chopped root until tender, then puree with stick blender. Throw in a little parm cheese if you like. Sage fried in olive oil is the perfect garnish. I didn't have any tonight, so I used fresh dill. It goes well, kind of a hot-potato-salady taste. This soup is a great idea too. Mmmm, Prosecco.

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

@Justine Ha! Great minds think alike, obviously. I like the mashed-potato-switcheroo idea, I may have to try that next. And I feel sure that prosecco makes everything better.

celia said... Best Blogger Tips

I think over here it's called celeriac. We're trying to grow it, but haven't succeeded yet! :)

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

@celia That sounds right to me, Celia - I had to double-check on what it was called here because I couldn't remember which one was the right term in which country!

Shu Han said... Best Blogger Tips

here in the uk it's called celeriac and i absolutely love it. the first time i tried it i was a bit put off by how knobbly and ugly it was but when i tried it, I fell in love immediately! haha i still remember saying that line too, about not judging a book by its cover, in my first blog post about it.


Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

@Shu Han Hi Shu Han! Thanks for commenting. I love the idea of adding hazelnut to celeriac; may have to try that in my next batch!

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