I’m completely smitten with old cookbooks and reenactment cookbooks…well, historical cookbooks, because they’re often not reenactments so much as modern interpretations on historical recipes. I only wish they were reenactment ones; maybe just explained a little more thoroughly than old ones. I have this one interpreted historical cookbook from the City Tavern, which almost makes me cry because I want all of the recipes so badly to be exactly what olde timey Philadelphians would have eaten at that restaurant so that I can taste something exactly the same. But there are some recipes in the book that aren’t too modernized. It’s refreshing at least to see lard used as the fat of choice in some recipes. This celery root salad is one simple little dish that I’ve been eyeing for a while from that book. There are a fair amount of vegetable recipes in it that are prepared nice and heavily. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good, crisp summer salad, but I’m not going to say I don’t really love fat-laden vegetables. I should have been born in Minnesota, I guess.
Celeriac is one of my absolute favorite roots. To eat. Some how or other, though, I’ve avoided it raw. Mashed, boiled, roasted, but not raw. Come to think of it, I’ve also never had raw beets I don’t think. I asked for a mandoline for Christmas and this was the first time I used it to julienne something. Pretty sweet. I’m sorry if you don’t have one and you have to julienne the root by hand. No, I’m not, because I’ve had to julienne everything by hand before this. You can do it. You’ll be a better person for it. You could also use a box grater, though the result won’t be as elegant, but whatever. I’m not really elegant, either.
I’m going to be growing celeriac in my garden this year, along with a shit load of other things. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to manage it all. In addition to my normal raised bed that we built last year, I also have a plot on the university campus. I feel deja vu, like I’ve already written about the second garden I have. Probably. Well, it’s all possible that I’ll have to leave the gardens anyway and move away to San Antonio. I can’t decide if I want to jinx it or not. I would probably be able to have a year-round garden there…but with zero friends to come over and eat the harvest with us… I would have curlier hair in the humidity, but I would also have to shower twice a day. There are a lot of considerations here.
I think if you don’t feel like being a purist you could easily add additional vegetables in this salad. Or meat. I ate some leftovers with canned tuna and that was pretty great. But yeah, some springy green onions, springy radishes, springy peas. Or go balls out celery and add in chopped celery stalks… and leaves. Whoa there. The walnuts are a really nice touch on this, but other nuts would work alright, too.
celery root salad
adapted from The City Tavern Cookbook
1 large celeriac, julienned into 2 inch long super thin strips
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 – 3/4 cup mayonnaise (recipe below)
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
coarsely chopped walnuts
1. In a large bowl combine the julienned celeriac with the lemon juice so it doesn’t oxidize. Toss to coat and set aside or in the fridge. Now’s a good time to make your mayo.
2. In the mayo bowl, add mustard, curry powder, and optional Worcestershire sauce and mix. Add the seasoned mayo as you see fit to the celery root. This somewhat depends on both your taste and the size of the root you started with. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish with the walnuts.
2 room temperature egg yolks
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from the same lemon as used above) or vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup light olive oil, extra virgen olive oil, nut oil, or a mix
1. Whisk the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice or vinegar, and salt together in a medium bowl either by hand or with a immersion blender with the whisk attachment.
2. Add, drop by drop, the oil into the mixture, whisking constantly.