“Deep roots are not touched by the frost.” J.R.R. Tolkien
It continues to be root vegetable season. This week at market I finally succumbed to the celery root, aka, celeriac. For years I have walked by this unsightly hairy bulb, never giving it a second thought, until now. I learned the root is celery’s cousin, not the actually bulb of the celery plant and once peeled it needs to be bathed in water and lemon to prevent it from blackening. I learned that this classic salad is as popular in France as potato salad is to us. I also learned that in my older age, I really like root vegetables. Like a lot. We’re kind of having a moment.
Ingredients: 1.5 pounds celery root, salt and black pepper, juice of 1 large lemon, 1/2 cup creme fraiche, 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons grated horseradish, small pinch of cayenne, 1 tablespoon chopped chives.
Peel the celery root’s rough craggy skin with a sharp paring knife and cut into matchsticks about 3 inches long. You can also use an food processor with a julienne blade or mandoline but I just cut them by hand. It was relaxing. Put the celery root in a bowl. Salt lightly , add the lemon juice and toss well. Cover the root with parchment or plastic wrap and set a plate and a heavy weight on top and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Drain the root and blot with paper towel. Mix together the creme fraiche, mustard and horseradish in a small bowl.. Add seasoning and cayenne pepper. Dress root liberally with dressing and then transfer to a serving dish or bowl. Sprinkle with chives.