Poor old celeriac. It’s like the ugly step-vegetable that no one knows what to do with. To be fair, its looks have a lot to do with it. On good days, it’s looks like a Martian head with distended boulders protruding out of its body and entrails spilling out of its nether regions. On a bad day, it just looks like a dismembered brain. There’s no getting away from it; celeriac is an ugly-ass-looking vegetable. Which is a shame, because it really does add character to a wide variety of dishes.
In the UK, it’s in season from September to April. It’s great grilled, baked or fried, and can be tossed in soups, salads or pies. Personally, I prefer to eat it raw, as I think it’s the best way to fully appreciate its nutty taste.
I’ve scoured the internet for recipes with celeriac and these are the best of what I’ve seen. They’ve been chosen for their ease of preparation (no foraging around specialist shops for some random ingredient that only grows in a remote village a million miles away and has no business being shipped to where you are…).
So, let’s get started, shall we?
How to prepare celeriac
This is what it looks like in the store or greengrocer’s.
All you need to do is chop off the entrails (if it hasn’t been done for you already by your store/greengrocer), peel off the skin and cut or slice to your liking.
Here’s a three-stage photo. Forgive the soft lighting – it’s supposed to detract from the celeriac’s ugliness.
In any case, here are four (actually, three) ways to cook celeriac. Recipes are curated from my favourite food websites.
From the BBC: smashed celeriac
An easy-peasy recipe that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Get the full low-down: BBC’s smashed celeriac recipe.
From Delia Smith: slow-cooked root vegetable soup
I love Delia’s no-fuss cooking, and seeing as we’re in the midst of an Arctic blast, I thought this would come in handy. Warm us all from the inside out and save us from freezing, such as it were.
Get the recipe: Delia Smith’s vegetable soup with celeriac.
Thomasina Miers: pancetta, leek and fennel fried rice
Admittedly, rice is the last thing (if ever), that I think of when I think of celeriac, but I do think that Thomasina’s got a great dish here.
Get the recipe: Thomasina Miers’ pancetta, leek and fennel fried rice.
Go raw. Seriously.
I’m a huge fan of raw vegetables. Not all raw vegetables, obvs, but there are some staples that I could quite happily munch on without feeling a visceral need to douse them in boiling water, first. As mentioned before, celeriac is one of those vegetables. Chopped or sliced, it’s wonderful eaten raw, or together with carrots, for that simply delightful combination of sweet and nutty flavour.
Granted, I may have overstated the celeriac’s looks, or lack thereof. But, don’t let that detract you from its versatility. It really is a wonderful root vegetable – once you get past its exterior ;-).