Celery Root: Underrated, Distinctive & Delicious
By Chef RC Schroeder
Culinary Bits is a monthly spotlight featuring tips from our own FVTC Chef Instructors. For November, Chef RC Schroeder pays tribute to the underrated celery root.
What I love most about fall is the abundance of the local farmers’ markets and produce stands. The root vegetables, squashes and other foods of winter are at their best. As a chef, it’s easy to get excited and ready to cook some of the most exciting vegetables at their best. Now is the perfect time to experiment and try some of the freshest local foods.
Celery root, also known as celeriac, is a root of the celery plant. It’s somewhat starchy and potato-like in texture with a mild celery flavor. It’s one of those root vegetables that stores well and is available all winter. Sometimes it will still have the stems and leaves intact. Look for the firmer, heavier roots, and avoid anything dried, slimy or wilted. Celery root is hard to peel because of the many nooks and crannies, so finding the smoothest roots possible will make peeling them easier.
I’ve included a recipe for Celery Root Purée that will be delicious with a piece of grilled salmon, chicken or steak.
Don’t be afraid to try foods that you haven’t heard of! If unsure of any of the interesting fall vegetables, ask the farmer how they would suggest cooking and preparing it.
Celery Root Purée
Serving Size: 12 two-ounce portions
Tablespoon Olive Oil
20-24 ounces Celeriac, peeled and cut ½-inch dice
½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
¼ teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
24 ounces Water
1 Tablespoon Whole Butter, melted
1½ ounces Heavy Cream, hot
Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over low heat just until it shimmers. Add the celeriac, salt and pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, just until it begins to soften. Increase the heat to high and add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer until celeriac is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain celeriac and return to the pot. Puree in the food processor. Add melted butter along with hot cream, mix well and adjust salt and pepper as needed.