The Forgotten Root
By Chelsea Fisher
Celery root, also known as celeriac, turnip-rooted celery, and knob celery is, as its name implies, the root of the celery plant. Its insides are smooth, white and tangy tasting, nothing like what its gnarly outside would lead one to believe. Celeriac is less starchy than most root vegetables, in fact ounce for ounce, it has about half the calories of a russet potato, making it a perfect replacement for or addition to potato mashes.
Celery root is also brimming with vitamins. It’s a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamin C. For something that grows underground, that’s not too shabby. Celery root has been popular in Europe and Asia for centuries and is now becoming widely available in supermarkets in the U.S. Pureed, with a touch of butter, celeriac is a yummy side for the holiday turkey, or a comforting side dish into the winter.
When dealing with a mud covered, gnarly object like celeriac, it’s hard to know which ones are good to buy. Rule of thumb: look for small to medium size roots that are off-white to greyish green color. They should be dry skinned, not obviously bruised or damaged, and without any dark moist patches. Always scrub and peel celeriac before cooking. When you cut celeriac open, it’s insides should be creamy white and smooth.
My experience of the cold winters in England and France has provided CFYL with a number of delicious and comforting recipes starring celeriac. For a cold day there’s really nothing better than celery root and potato soup. For something light and fresh try making Celery Root Slaw. Its bright crunchiness makes it the perfect winter side to lighten up your plate and remind you that summer’s not too far off.