Celery root, also known as celeriac, has to be one of the gnarliest, ugliest, roots we eat. In spite of its lack of physical beauty, when it comes to flavor it can charm. A lighter flavor than branch celery, it still has that fresh green quality that branch celery brings to the table. This salad is great for many reasons. The base – the celeriac without the greens – holds for a 2-3 days in the refrigerator without suffering. It is easy to prepare, and is a nice light starter course. It is also excellent on the plate with things like grilled fish or heavier dishes like pot roasts.
1 medium-large celery root (about the size of your fist), peeled and julienned on the medium blade of a mandolin. (Ideally, your strips should be about the thickness of matchsticks.)
1-2 cups of greens such as mixed sprouts, baby arugula, peppercress, upland cress or watercress
1 minced shallot
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon minced thyme
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 ounces extra virgin olive oil
Place the shallot, salt, pepper, and thyme into a non-reactive bowl. Cover with the lemon juice and vinegar and allow to macerate 15 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
Pour the dressing over the celeriac shreds and allow celeriac to macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
The salad can now be used or stored in the refrigerator at this point.
To Assemble Salad:
Mix greens in whatever combination you choose and place in a steel bowl. Allow the celeriac to warm up a little so the dressing is not solidified, then gently fold into the mixed greens. The amount should not exceed a 1:1 ratio, and the greens should not overwhelm the taste of the celeriac.
YIELD: 2-4 servings
SOURCE: Chef Andrew Cohen