All About Celeriac
Recipe: Celeriac Salad with Fresh Crabmeat and Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing
More Ideas for Celeriac

All About Celeriac

You might be unfamiliar with celeriac AKA celery root.  This root vegetable won’t win a prize for looks unless the contest is ugliest vegetable, but its earthy flavor does make it a winner. It reminds me of a cross between celery and parsley.

Some think celery root is the root of the celery we enjoy snacking on, but it’s not.  Instead, the two plants are cousins, different cultivated varieties of wild celery.

Celery root is a mottled brown sphere, knobby and a little hairy.  As with other root vegetables, select roots that are heavy for their size.  To make it easier to peel, choose the least knobby root you can find, keeping in mind that a celery root will never be 100% smooth.

Celery root stores well at cool temperatures and should last for a few weeks stored in the produce drawer of the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in a kitchen towel or paper or plastic bag.

Celery root must be scrubbed (if very dirty) and peeled.  Because of its gnarly shape, this might seem intimidating.  Have no fear.  Watch this video where Melissa Clark demystifies the peeling process.  The key is a sharp knife.

Once peeled, celery root can be enjoyed raw or cooked.  See below for recipe ideas.

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– Betsy Pollack


Recipe: Celeriac Salad with Fresh Crabmeat and Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing

Back in the 70’s, when I was eight, my family moved to Europe. We first lived in a small Swiss town. I learned a lot about customs by looking in shop windows. Food culture was the most transparent. Towns big enough to have a few school buildings usually had a few butchers. Each butcher shop specialized their trade to meet the wants of their clients. Towns with apartment buildings had the ubiquitous butcher/traiteur. The traiteur was the tradesman that supplied the town with ready-made dishes, kind of like the deli counter at Whole Foods, just way simpler.

Even today, if you walk into a traiteur shop you will find individualized vegetable salads. Don’t think salad bar – no self service here! This is what you might find: grated carrots, tomatoes (artfully arranged), macédoine de légumes, cucumber salad and celeriac salad. I avoided the colorful display of vegetables for many years, but by the time I was thirteen, my appetite for veggies exploded. That’s when I discovered celeriac (also called celery root) salad and all its glory. And now I wonder why delis don’t offer celeriac salad?

Nowadays, I usually roast celeriac with other veggies or grate it and fry it up in a skillet. Pan fried celeriac is at its best when you allow an unreasonable quantity of Gruyère cheese (or similar hard mountain cheese) to melt and bubble on top – a very successful side dish. That said, I also enjoy it raw. An annual opportunity to recover from the plated mayo-laden abusive celeriac salads of my youth is always welcome. I suggest you also try a raw version – how about the recipe I discovered below?

This salad was first prepared for and served at my husband’s 50th birthday dinner. It was the second course and served with Walnut Pear Blue Cheese Madeleines and a crisp white Sancerre. 

Here is the link to the recipe in the NY Times Magazine (but originally a recipe from “Vegetable Harvest,” by Patricia Wells).

For the lemon-chive dressing: 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup light cream
1/3 cup minced chives

For the celeriac salad:
10 ounces celeriac, peeled and trimmed
6 ounces fresh crabmeat

In a small jar, combine the lemon juice and salt. Cover and shake to dissolve the salt. Add the cream and chives, and shake to blend. Taste for seasoning. Store, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week. Shake to blend again before using.
Place 1 cup of the dressing in a large, shallow bowl. With a mandoline fitted with a julienne blade, cut the celeriac into a fine julienne, grating it right into the bowl with the dressing. Toss to evenly coat the celeriac.
At serving time, place a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Transfer the celeriac to the sieve and allow any excess dressing to drain off. Place the crabmeat in a small bowl and toss with just enough of the drained dressing to evenly coat the crabmeat.
Arrange a mound of the dressed celeriac on each of 6 salad plates. Place a small mound of the crabmeat on top of the celeriac. 
Serves 6.

Note: It is important to drain off the excessive dressing/liquids before plating (save juices for another salad!). Also, adjust the seasoning after draining. I like to have a little crème fraîche, an extra lemon, salt and pepper available to perk up the flavors. It’s really good with a sprinkling of grated lemon zest and chopped parsley on top.  

Tina Jaillet is a Lexington resident and LexFarm founding member. She has boundless interests yet sharing foods with loved ones is a daily pursuit. Tina volunteers for the LexFarm educational committee.


More Ideas for Celeriac

Make classic French celeri remoulade by tossing shredded celeriac in a mustardy mayonnaise dressing.  It won’t be classic, but change it up by adding apple and crab or lemon and capers.

Dress a salad of lentils and matchsticks of celeriac and apples with a cumin seed dressing.

Toss roasted cubes of celeriac with arugula and pecans.

Combine cooked slices of celeriac with lentils, hazelnuts, and mint.

Shred celeriac, plus apples, winter squash and other root vegetables, for this root vegetable slaw with apple cider vinaigrette.

Grate or slice the celeriac paper thin for this salad with anchovies & capers (from The Silver Spoon).

Make a pot of soup with or without potato.

Puree with celery for this silky creamless soup.

Braise chicken with celeriac and garlic.

Puree to make a creamy sauce for baked rigatoni with fontina.

Use a knife or a spiralizer to transform a bulb of celeriac into pasta to top with puttanesca sauce.

Celeriac can be simply prepared, such as glazed with celery, sautéed with olive oil and fresh herbs or mashed.

Add celeriac and apples to spaetzle.

Combine with shredded potatoes for rosti.

Whip up a batch of oven-baked celeriac fries.

Make a sliceable, non-crumbly vegetable pâté from this celeriac and white bean puree.

Pickle celeriac slices.

Bake a cake.  Choose from savory celeriac cakes or sweet celeriac cupcakes
These collections from Martha Stewart, Six Burner Sue, BBC Good Food, Huffington Post, and LA Weekly provide more inspiration for preparing celeriac.


Compiled by Jackie Starr & Betsy Pollack