We can hear it now. You’re saying “what do I do with this lumpy alien troll beast in my share?!” More politely, this excellent article from NPR calls it “the vegetable world’s ugly duckling”. Don’t panic, friends, at the sight of this week’s truly weird weirdo! Celeriac may have the look of ogre skin at first glance, but fear not! Simply peel away that tough outer skin to to reveal the pristine creamy flesh inside; it was there all along!
Celeriac, a variety of celery, is also known as celery root, but won’t be found growing under a typical looking bunch of celery. They are totally different plants. Instead, your bulbous new friend is a root crop. It’s got that delicate celery flavor without all the strings! Like other root vegetables, celeriac stores for quite a long time in the right conditions, though the flavor may be a bit diminished the longer it stays in storage.
Lots of recipes out there call disguising celeriac, as is often the case with lesser-known types of vegetables. It may not be potatoes, but the addition of olive oil, a little garlic and a pinch of thyme will transform your weirdo into a lovely, easy smashed potato-like dish. Speaking of comfort food, try this gorgeous sounding roasted squash soup, co-starring celeriac. Caramelized onions lend sweet undertones while smoky paprika, savory cumin and coriander punch up the flavor. Add some hearty crusty bread and you’ve got dinner!
For side dishes, you can slice the root thinly and add to an apple, or perhaps Asian pear, salad with toasted nuts and a strong blue cheese. Per usual, roasting is the culinary magic wand, bringing out an unexpected nutty sweetness from your celeriac. For dessert, the vegetable pairs beautifully with apples in this creamy savory sweet gratin. Bacon, pie spice and toasty breadcrumbs will make this dish the cozy sweater equivalent of your winter recipe repertoire!
So have no fear! Grab a sharp paring knife, make quick work of that celeriac skin (which is lovely for flavoring soups) and find a new favorite dish for this week’s weirdo!