This is the Cinderella of salads. Take one plain (if you’re generous) or ugly (if you’re honest) root vegetable, basement-dwelling sibling to an elegant sister, strip off the gnarly beige attire and dress it up in French fashion. And, voila, something magical happens.
Okay, maybe not magical, but tasty. Celery root, the least attractive member of the carrot-parsley-dill family is too often overlooked. It has a subtle celery flavour (as you might expect – it is related to the celery stalks we all have going soft in our crisper drawer) with none of the wateriness or stringy texture. Also called celeriac, this bulbous root can be boiled like a potato and puréed on its own or mixed with mashed potatoes (and a little horseradish, if you please).
But to really get a sense of just how elegant folate-rich celery root can become, grate it into matchstick-sized pieces(using a mandolin or the coarsest blade on a grater) and mix with a little mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.
Feel free to add a little chopped garlic, some capers or some prepared horseradish if you like.
Celery root remoulade
(adapted from David Lebovitz, Living the Sweet Life in Paris, http://www.davidlebovitz.com)
About six side servings
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (more, or less, to taste)
1/2–1 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt), to taste
Juice of one-half freshly squeezed lemon
freshly ground black pepper
1 large celery root, cut into match sticks.
Make the dressing by mixing the mayonnaise, Dijon, lemon juice and seasonings before cutting the celery root (it will discolour quickly).
With a large chef’s knife, slice off the skin and knobby bits of the root (you may have to cut fairly deeply in places) and grate the root. Mix with dressing and refrigerate for an hour or so before serving. Will keep, refrigerated, for 1-2 days.