Why You’ll Love The Celery Root (Celeriac)

April 19, 2013

The Celery Root: A Great Winter Root VegetableDo not be fooled by this photo.  It is not a daikon radish.  This is my new love: the celery root, also known as celeriac.  First off, I don’t like celery.  I avoid it as much as possible. But, somehow, I had a hunch that the root of a celery would be different. Oh, it was so different, and it was good. Once I ate that creamy, crunchy-chewy root, it was love at first bite.  A mere two weeks ago, I had brunch at Universal Café, a hip restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District, and I was blown away (more on San Francisco later).  How was it possible that I ignored this wonderful winter root for so long? After being taken in by its surprisingly delicate texture, likened to the crunch of a blanched turnip and chewy like an oyster mushroom, I found myself completely immersed in the experience of my side salad, which mingled perfectly with some coarsely chopped snowpeas and black trumpet mushrooms.  The celeriac was definitely the star.

Celeriac Salad


When you quick-stir fry the root in some olive oil, the celery root gets nuttier, but the buttery notes remain.  I suggest you get your hands on some celeriac today. I have read celeriac is best eaten in the winter, but it can be harvested as early as summer. Since I’m not an expert in this area, I’d make a mad dash to your local market now and get your hands on a head of celeriac in case they stop stocking them.

Note: when you slice open the root, you’ll smell the intense aroma of celery, but I would say, a brighter aroma. When you bite into the celeriac shoots, you will be surprised by its “lemony” bright notes while crunching into its crisp but less fibrous stems. I hope you’ll like it.  Scroll down for the recipe.

CELERIAC-SNOW PEA SALAD (Inspired by Universal Café)
(Serves 2. Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking: 3 minutes, not including egg.)

1 cup julienned celeriac root
1/2 cup diced celeriac shoots
8-10 snow peas, ends trimmed & chopped into thirds
olive oil for drizzling at the end
salt to taste

How To Prepare The Celeriac
Rince off any dirt and debris from the entire celeriac root and shoots. Chop off celeriac shoots and set aside. Slice off tough outer layer of the celeriac root. Slice the root in half, and julienne up to 1 cup of celeriac. Refrigerate the rest in a ziploc bag.

In a heated, lightly oiled frying pan, quickly stir fry the julienned celeriac root and shoots for about 3 minutes, only half cooking it. Turn off the heat. Toss in the snow peas and give that a quick stir fry, while the pan is still hot. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and lightly drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil. Season with your favorite salt or sprinkle lightly with some light vinegar. Top it with poached eggs or sunny side up eggs, if desired.

Let me know what you think!


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