From time to time I like to write about unpopular vegetables. I consider them a challenge, especially root vegetables which tend to be inexpensive and versatile. Today I’m going to talk about one of the least attractive vegetables, celeriac.
It’s easy to confuse celery and celeriac. Celeriac, from the parsley family, is grown for its tasty root, while celery is grown for its stalks and leaves.
I tend not to buy celeriac because it is sold by the unit, making it more expensive than vegetables sold by weight. But it adds an incomparable flavor to my soup stock—delicate and sweet. Smaller roots are tastier than larger ones, but I took a chance and picked up this big one as it was a good buy. Look for dark green leaves when you buy. The carrot-shaped vegetables on the left are parsnips, or parsley roots, which are used the same way as celeriac.
Celeriac roots are knobby and dirty. To avoid having to cut away too much of the peel, slice the root in circles and cut away the outside edge of each slice. Use quickly to avoid browning, or treat with lemon juice. The flesh should be white and firm.
You can use celeriac leaves in salads and soups, but they are more bitter than celery. To cook the celeriac root, add it to boiling water. Celeriac that began in cold water will also come out bitter.
Fresh celery root can be grated raw into salad, or cooked and served cold. Try pairing it with other root vegetables, like cooked beets or turnips.
The celeriac was wonderful in my chicken soup, but not as good fresh in my beet salad. I’m not sure whether that was the size or the age of the root that was the problem. Next time I’ll make salad from it as soon as I get it home.
Have you ever used celeriac? Please share your experience in the comments.
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