( SERVES 4 )
Celeriac may not be beautiful but it has great versatility. This subtly celery-flavoured root vegetable makes a great mash, braises perfectly in slow-cooked dishes, roasts and can also be eaten raw. This classic French dish is great as a starter or side dish.
- Peel celeriac and rub it with lemon juice to stop it browning and cut the root in half.
- Sit the flat side on a board and with a sharp knife make fine slices working from one side to the other.
- Taking a few slices at a time, cut into match stick-sized pieces and drizzle with lemon juice.
- Mix together mayonnaise, cream fraiche or sour cream, Dijon mustard and chopped parsley.
- Fold this mix through the celeriac strips and season with salt and pepper.
To prepare it, cut off the top and bottom with a sharp knife and then peel. It's a tough old vegetable to work with and needs a firm hand. Once peeled or cut, it will quickly discolour, so have half a lemon on hand and squeeze the juice over the celeriac. Cube the root to add to casseroles or stews. Celeriac will take around 40 minutes to roast. To make a mash, peel and chop and cook until soft in salted water for about 20 minutes. Drain and mash with olive oil or butter and a good amount of fresh ground pepper and salt. It makes a great soup vegetable, either on its own or with others in pureed or chunky vegetable soups. If using celeriac on its own for a soup, make it smooth with some cream and garnish with celery seeds and finely grated parmesan.