08 September 2013

Celeriac Remoulade

I absolutely love celeriac, and celeriac remoulade, that most European of dishes, is no exception. I made it the other night to bring to our family's regular "Fish'n'Chip" night at my sister's house, and describing it over the phone I came up with "it's like a very fancy, delicious coleslaw".

For those of you who have not met celeriac as yet, here is what you can expect to find:

It tastes like celery flavoured root vegetable if you are wondering, but there's just something about it that is some kind of magical.

I love Celeriac Mash (slice off the stems and tough outer skin, chop into pieces then boil with equal parts milk and water; drain and mash. AMAZING! You can also combine with equal parts potato pieces if you want a starchier texture.) I've mentioned it before in this blog post.

The other way I use it is as a side for roasts. Roast Celeriac did feature at my Father's Day lamb roast lunch this year. Simply slice off the outer skin then cut into wedges or batons, apply oil, salt & pepper and roast as you would for any other root vegetable. So morish!

So, Celeriac Remoulade seems like a difficult thing as I find it features on menus in french bistros and fancy restaurants over here, but I was determined to give it a go. Fortunately for us, we have the delightful Neil Perry at Rockpool, who is always open to sharing his recipes, plus google gave me a few more gems, such as this classic recipe from Nigel Slater.

As you may know, I have injured both my right wrist and my left index finger recently - the right arm was giving me grief, with lots of pain on gripping or movement; whilst the left finger is trussed up in a funny batman-mask splint. I was concerned I may not be able to shred the celeriac finely enough. I had recently bought a new device from the Vietnamese store which is designed to shred green papaya and mango for salads:

It worked well but was quite labour-intensive as the celeriac was just that little bit hard, and slippery. I don't actually own a food processor, but if you do, I think this dish would be so easy to make, you'd just slip in the julienne blades and "wazz" it up as Jamie Oliver says. Fortunately I have unearthed most of my kitchen stuff from over east (the injuries haven't helped with unpacking!), and my big mandolin was floating around, so I was able to julienne in a timely fashion (you can't be late for fish and chip night! Soggy fry up! What a disaster!).

So once that pesky julienne problem is overcome, it's actually a remarkably simple dish to make, just a classic combination of taste sensations!

Celeriac Remoulade a la Fish'n'Chip night:

Julienne the flesh of one celeriac (stems and outer skin removed) and immediately place in acidulated water.
Combine several generous dollops (3-5 tablespoons) of whole egg mayonnaise and 1 large dollop of dijon mustard.
Rinse and chop three cornichons and 1 tablespoon of capers and mix into the dressing. Add a large pinch of dried parsley because it is too cold to go outside to the herb garden to harvest fresh dill, parsley and watercress, and you don't feel like braving the slugs. Squeeze in the juice of half a monster lemon (having recently harvested an entire vegie drawer's worth of lemons from the monster tree in the front yard). Decide to leave out garlic that some recipes suggest as your sister has a weird aversion to it (she thinks she can feel it oozing out of her pores the next day).

Mix thoroughly and toss in the drained celeriac julienne, coat well. Plonk the lot into a takeaway box for quick transport and take a photo for your blog (curses! no time to dress it up in a nice bowl!). Enjoy whole heartedly with family as an excellent side dish which will definitely steal the show. And have this conversation with your brother in law:

"I don't know, you don't make friends with salad."
"Come on, it has whole egg mayonnaise in it, it's hardly a purist's salad."
"I'm in."


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