Celeriac or celery root is a root vegetable usually in season at the beginning of autumn. It’s not attractive to look at, and in fact the mass number of roots sticking out at either end look almost like an alien creature to me, not to mention the dirt and mud it captures in between those layers. However, when you cut inside the white jewel shines, its aniseed smell extremely inviting.
The first time I tried celeriac was about a year ago and ever since then I treat myself to this amazingly delicate, nutty and earthy root vegetable, occasionally. It’s flavour is subtle, slightly softer yet deeper than celery, delectably delicious. It’s not as sweet as parsnips or carrots, and makes an excellent creamy addition to potatoes, with a much lower carbohydrate content of course. It is loaded with vitamins B6 and C, good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.
While I was setting up the props and dishes to snap a few photos, I heard the loud voice of my littlest one, requesting a special photo of her arrangement for the yoghurt pot and the spoon. She was so specific about my position and the angle in which I took the photo, it frightened me; as we adults are so oblivious to how much the little ones around us are taking in. Well, food preparation may not be as harmful, but bad habits, I sincerely hope not! The story behind these yoghurt pictures made me laugh so much, I had to post them. They will be my favourite for a while!
Celeriac Soup with Walnut-Celery ‘dressing’ – Serves 4-6
Adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 celeriac (celery root)
- 2-3 celery stalks with pale leaves, with 3 tablespoons reserved for the garnish
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or several sprigs of thyme
- 1/4 cup, 10 g chopped parsley, plus more to finish
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water, plus more if needed
- Extra stock, milk, or cream for thinning
- 1/3 cup, 35 g walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil, or roasted walnut oil, to drizzle
Have ready a large bowl of water to which you have added the lemon juice. Scrub the celeriac (celery root) and slice off the rough skin. Cut the celeriac into 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) cubes and immerse them in the lemon water as you work. Trim the pale leaves from the celery stalks and chop enough, reserve 3 tablespoons for the garnish. Set aside the rest for a garnish. Drain the celeriac.
Heat the butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery and celeriac, onion, thyme, and parsley and cook until the vegetables take on some colour, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until for another 4 minutes or so. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat and simmer, cover partially, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and reheat, thinning with additional stock, milk or cream if needed. Mix together the reserved diced celery, the walnuts, and toss with extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil to moisten well, and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Spoon the walnut-celery dressing on top, finishing off with drizzle of oil and chopped parsley.
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did.