A knobbly, rough looking thing, celeriac is a hardy root vegetable that might not be terribly inspiring on first inspection. Yet it is a bit like Magwitch, that tough old Dickensian convict from ‘Great Expectations’ who in the end scrubs up ok and turns out to be full of more goodness than many glossier folk.
The idea for this dish came from a celebration meal we had at Midsummer house, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Cambridge. On that occasion we enjoyed a multi-layered dish. Celeriac – roasted and as a frozen foam, served with hazelnut, hollandaise, wood sorrel and a generous slick of brown butter with celeriac ash.
We took the essence of this, and developed a simpler recipe for a home-cooked winter meal.
Take one celeriac. Cook it low and slow then drizzle it with brown butter and chilli-honey roasted walnuts.
At Midsummer House, Chef Daniel Clifford uses a Big Green Egg to roast Celeriac on open coals. We did the same but you could just as easily roast it in the oven.
To make sure you soften the celeriac all the way through, give it a bit of a steam first for a couple of hours.
To finish it of you roast it in the oven (or in a barbecue) for a couple of hours. The open coals of the barbecue will give a charred exterior and add a smokiness to the mild sweetness of the roasted celeriac.
You will know it is done when a sharp knife passes easily through the celeriac.
Towards the end of the roasting period, throw in some seasoned walnuts. When cooked, slice the celeriac into wedges and glaze with brown butter (beurre noisette).
Not so humble now huh? Just don’t eat the skin though – it is a bit rough. This vegetable has a heart of gold but is rough on the outside.
- 1 Celeriac
- 60g chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- Ground pepper - to taste
- Quarter teaspoon lemon juice
- A sprig of thyme to garnish
- Fill a steamer pot with water to maximum depth and bring the water to a gentle simmer on lowish heat.
- Wash and clean the celeriac, then place in a steamer basket.
- Cover and steam the celeriac for 2 hours on minimum heat to cook it gently. Check the water level in the pot around half way through to make sure the water level is not too low.
- You want the celeriac to give on gentle pressure but not get too soft. Then take it out and let the steam evaporate off.
- If you are going to store the celeriac to roast later, plunge it in ice cold water then pat dry and store in the refrigerator.
- When you are ready to roast, preheat barbecue or oven to 180-200DegC (350-390DegF).
- Place the celeriac directly on the coals or roast in the oven in a heatproof dish.
- Cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours - it will be done when you can easily pass a sharp knife through to the centre of the vegetable.
- In the last 30 minutes of roasting, rub the coconut oil, honey, chilli flakes and sea salt into the chopped walnuts. Place in a separate heatproof dish and roast for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a skillet on low heat. It will initially froth then as it starts to turn slightly brown it will develop a nutty aroma. Add salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
- If you have barbecued the celeriac and the outer surface is charred, flake some of this off and add a pinch to the brown butter.
- Slice the Roasted celeriac into quarters and each of these segments into 3 pieces. Place in serving dish. Garnish with brown butter, walnuts and leaves of thyme.
Some more celeriac recipes –
Ceri has this celeriac and sesame slaw.
Sus shares her Carrot and celeriac slaw.
Jeanne has a classic French recipe for celeriac – Remoulade,
and some celeriac mash in this recipe from Ren.