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Two things happened last week that brought this salad about.
First, I read an update on Facebook from Shauna challenging readers to experiment with one new ingredient over the weekend. It could be anything…a spice, an herb, a vegetable, a cut of meat. Just something new that you’d never worked with before. Celery root (otherwise known as celeriac) popped up in my mind as a potential option, but chanterelle mushrooms fought for my attention as well.
Second, just hours later, I read this post on Diane’s blog. She’s hosting the October edition of Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, a fun event originally created by Naomi at Straight Into Bed, Cakefree and Dried. Diane’s theme for the month is “scared silly.” In other words, entrants are to craft their recipes around an ingredient or technique that’s intimidating or scary for them.
I didn’t even have to think twice. Celery root it was. I would hit two challenges with one stone. Never had I made anything with celery root before, and it certainly scared me to think of paddling into this uncharted territory and then having to blog about it here!
After a trip to the farmers’ market, I came home and unloaded my goodies into the fridge: eggs, kale, herbs, green beans, and there, nestled in the bottom of my bag, celery root. In all it’s knobby, gnarly glory. (Shauna’s got a great picture of the root here.)
Instead of combing the web for celery root recipes or consulting The Flavor Bible (the new favorite book on my shelf), I plunged into the archives of my own blog and started searching for a recipe I could revamp to include celery root. I had no idea what the stuff tasted like, but somewhere in the back of my head I had this picture of celery root and fennel paired together.
In the Kitchen with Celery Root
This recipe for Sauteed Fennel, Leeks, and Apples caught my eye. I decided to mirror some of the flavors of this dish in a salad, only this time I would add the celery root—assuming it could be served raw.
The result: a smashing success! I fell in love with this crunchy salad from the very first bite. The apples and honey offer the perfect touch of sweetness, while the fennel and celery root hit on all the right savory notes. Toss in some baby greens and you’ve got a delicious autumnal salad to pair with just about any main course.
Trying something new, maybe even a little scary? I guess it isn’t so bad after all. I’m happy to say that celery root and I have had a very pleasant first encounter, and that we’ll be seeing much more of each other soon.
Celery Root Salad with Fennel and Apples – serves 4
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved (see this post for a tutorial with photos)
1 medium Gala apple, unpeeled and cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. honey
Sea salt, to taste
3 cups mixed baby greens or baby spinach
Toss celery root, fennel, apple, and onion together in a medium mixing bowl. Chop a handful of the reserved fennel fronds and add to the bowl along ith lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and salt. Mix well. Chill for 30 minutes.
Just before serving, toss the celery root mixture with the greens.
More celery root goodness…
After making my recipe, I allowed myself to consult all of the blogs, websites, and books I wanted about my newfound friend. These recipes looked delicious:
- Celeriac Soup with Curry Popcorn, from Tasty Eats at Home
- Potato Celery Root Pancakes, from Rice of Life
- Mashed Roots with Buttermilk and Chives, from Eating Well Magazine
Find more seasonal and delicious recipes at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.