See what I did there? I met Hal from CaryCitizen again last Friday to go exploring in Cary’s grocery stores for round 2 of my column in CaryCitizen, In The Supermarkets. This week I chose Fresh Market off of Cary Parkway. Seeing as how Fresh Market is typically the first to bring in seasonal produce, of the upmost quality I might add, I figured this would be a cake walk. Among springs newbies were berries, tangelos, mangos, eggplant, and Celeriac the size of a softball. The choice was unexpected to say the least.
Celeriac or Celery Root (depending on how cool the producer wants to sound) is just what it seems: the bulbous root of celery. It may look like a shrunken head, but this lumpy brown mass holds a sweet, pearly white treasure inside. Along with pork belly, short ribs, and macarons, root vegetables such as celeriac or parsley root have become all the rage. Don’t believe me? Just watch an episode of Top Chef, one of those pompous, foie gras loving egomaniacs churns Celeriac into a puree on the reg. That being said, it’s because the ugly bastards are delicious with a subtle flavor of celery and texture all it’s own.
Unlike other root vegetables, Celeriac only has 5% starch making it light and crispy when served raw. Thus, I give you my recipe:
Cold Celeriac and Apple Salad
1 Large Celery Root
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Handful Italian Parsley, chopped
Pinch of Sugar
Olive Oil (best quality), Salt, Pepper, Sesame Seeds
Start by peeling the Celeriac. I turn this into a game where I try to waste as little of the flesh as possible, it really hones the knife skills. When complete, the previously garrish looking root is transformed into a brilliant ivory globe of inteweaving swirls, who knew?!
Cut the Celeriac into 1/4″ slices, then into match sticks and place into a bowl. Follow the same steps for the Apple creating matchsticks of identical size. Dress the Celeriac and Apple with the juice of 1 Lemon, an equal dose of olive oil, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, a small pinch of pepper, and the chopped handful of parsley.
When plating, sprinkle a generous amount of sesame seeds on top and dig in!
This dish gets better and better as it sits and marries in the fridge, but I enjoyed mine seconds after making. The Celeriac is crunchy but tender, with a light celery flavor but also reminiscent of fresh coconut in taste and texture. The Granny Smith’s tart bite lends perfectly to the mellowness of the Celeriac, with the lemon juice adding extra acidity. The sesame seeds are the unsung heroes of the dish, toasted and nutty they really round out the recipe.
I initially was going to write that you wouldn’t want to eat a whole plate of this stuff…but I ate 2, so I guess I screwed the pooch on that one. It works all alone, as a cold salad next to a bbq sandwich, or even as a refreshing plate in-between courses to recharge the taste buds.
I hope this inspires some of you to give those Fugly plants or roots you find at the store a chance, some of them are incredibly tasty and require nothing more than some minor knife skills and creativity.