Celeriac or celery root is one of those strange vegetables that is simultaneously repulsive and compelling. Its hairy root end and green tops make it look like a shriveled head, complete with a scratchy beard and green hair. Yet I am always intrigued by it and buy it at least once a season when it shows up at the farmers’ market
My first introduction to celeriac was digging it up at my friend Signe’s Earthcraft farm in Indiana. Farmers always say celeriac tastes almost like celery, but since it is nothing like the consistency or texture of celery, it can be kind of confusing in how to cook it. It has an earthy, fresh green smell and my first attempt to cook it was to steam it and add some olive oil, salt and pepper. Steaming really brings out the celery flavor, so if you’re not a huge fan of cooked celery (which I’m not) I would recommend blanching it in some milk or cream and then sprinkling it with some grated hard cheese.
I have locavore friends who use it in the winter in making soups when celery is not available, but I find it works best either roasted with other root vegetables or raw and shredded as in this coleslaw. Right now I’m cooking from the pantry as much as possible so I decided to just add some carrots, parsley and red onion to this simple coleslaw. Quick and yummy!
1 head celeriac, peeled and cleaned
1/2 cup parsley, minced
1 slice red onion, minced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared spicy mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, paprika and salt and pepper and set aside. On the large holes grate the celeriac and carrots and combine in a bowl. Add parsley and red onion and pour over dressing. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.