Celery root is one of those vegetables that one is quite likely to walk right by. It is not particularly pretty; with its tangle of roots that must be removed along with the outer skin that is bumpy and knurled. How does one even begin to attack it? Ideally, I look for celery root that still has its stalks attached which will give me a good indication of how fresh it is – the perkier they are the shorter the distance that brought it to my plate. As an added bonus the stalks are good for stocks not so much as an eat.
I have yet to find a vegetable peeler that can successfully tackle the rough topography of the celery root. So, grab your chef’s knife to get this job done. It is so well worth it for this tuber offers a myriad of possibilities. It finds its way into my soups and stews and is even is willing to get mashed along with parsnips for a potato alternative. Though, I am frequently called to an admittedly slicing intensive salad with apples, onions and blue cheese. You have been warned that everything has to be sliced julienne now be advised the salad is even better a day or two later.
Celery Root and Green Apple Salad - yields 6 to 8 servings
1 medium red onion
1/2 cup apple cider Vinegar
2 pound celery root
2 tart apples such as Granny Smith, Mutsu
2 small carrots - sliced julienne
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 pound blue cheese - crumbled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Slice the onion in half through its root base – by cutting the onion in this way you prevent it from falling apart on you as all the leaves of the onion attach at the root end. Trim off the stem and peel away its outer layer. Slice the onion into a very thin julienne, which will actually be a half moon shape. Toss the onions with vinegar in a work bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, peel the celery root by cutting off the root and stem portions to create a flat, stable surface. Using a pairing or chef knife peel the skin from the celery root. Given the thickness of the vegetable’s skin I find it much easier to use a knife than a vegetable peeler. Slice the celery root into 1/4 inch panels and then cut those panels into 1/8 inch wide julienne strips. Place in with the onions and toss. Core the apples and slice into 1/8 inch thick julienne strips and toss with the onion mixture along with the carrot, chives, mustard, blue cheese, oil, salt and pepper.
Serve this salad cold or, I like to warm it before serving.