Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vegetable Feature: Celeriac

By Chef Andrea

     Celeriac, or celery root as it is also known, can be a bit intimidating if you’re encountering it for the first time. However, as with all vegetables, there’s really no need to be intimidated…it’s just a vegetable and it can be conquered and embraced. Celeriac is in the same family as celery. The difference is that celeriac is grown for its root and celery is grown for its stalks. The stalks on celeriac resemble celery and have a lot of delicious flavor in them. You will find they are more tough and fibrous than celery, thus they are not eaten like celery. Don’t throw them away though! Their flavor can add depth to a pot of stock or soup. If you aren’t going to use them all now, put them in the freezer and use them later this fall or winter.
     Now for the root bulb. First, scrub the exterior of the root the best you can. Next, thinly slice away the top and bottom of the root so there is a flat side on the top and the bottom. You’ll probably need to take a little more off the bottom to get past the majority of the roots and get into the more usable bulb portion of the root. At this point I usually cut the root in half or into quarters so it is easier to handle. Using a paring knife, carefully trim away the outer skin. Once you’ve removed the outer skin, rinse the remaining pieces of celeriac and clean your cutting board if there’s any residual dirt. Now you’re ready to use this gem!
     Celeriac has a subtle celery flavor that provides a background to soups, stews and root mashes. It also makes a delicious soup or gratin on its own or combined with potatoes or other root vegetables. It can also be eaten raw in salads and slaws paired with other fall fruits and vegetables and a simple creamy dressing.
     Celeriac stores quite well. Keep it in your refrigerator loosely wrapped in plastic or in the crisper drawer until you’re ready to use it. Enjoy!

Maple-Bacon Roasted Apples & Celeriac

Yield: 4 Servings

1 large celeriac, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp salt
2 apples, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 slices bacon, chopped
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or rosemary or ¼ tsp dried

1. Preheat oven to 450 °F.
2. Toss celeriac with oil, pepper and salt and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add apples, toss gently and continue roasting until the apples and celeriac are tender, 6 to 10 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just crispy. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; discard all but 2 tsp of the bacon fat. Add maple syrup to the fat in the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits. Add the cooked bacon and thyme (or rosemary). When the celeriac and apples are tender, gently toss them with the maple-bacon glaze and roast for about 5 minutes more. 

Recipe borrowed from

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