Come clean. Celeriac is downright intimidating. Just what is that knobby-looking thing and how does one cook with it? Fear not, celeriac is not the province of chef menus only. Armed with a few facts and a killer recipe, you’ll want to run, not walk, to the Westport Winter Farmers’ Market this weekend to pick up the root and impress your friends and family.
Let’s start with what it is. Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceuem), is a species of celery in the family of plants that includes parsley, carrots, anise, and parsnip. Like many of its cousins, celeriac is a root vegetable that is often harvested during fall when the vegetable is sweetest. Indeed some species can remain underground throughout winter with mulch and protection; this is the reason it is often plentiful at winter farmers’ markets. While the root is most-often harvested when it is about 4 – 5 inches round, smaller bulbs can pack a more sugary punch. And the vegetable can be stored for 4 to 6 months at 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit once purchased.
Celeriac is delicious sliced and eaten raw but – as Chef Silvia Baldini demonstrates below