04 March 2010

Molly's celeriac salad

This week I've been reveling in fresh vegetables.  And when I saw a recent winter salad recipe by Molly Wizenberg, I was thrilled to try it out.  It's a crispy slaw of raw julienned celery root, fennel bulb, and apples, dressed with a light vinaigrette.

The vinaigrette is absolutely fabulous; made with Dijon mustard (one of my favorite pantry items!), the juice from a clove of finely grated garlic, and a squeeze of lemon, it is deliciously tangy.  I used (un-roasted) sesame oil, since I didn't have the hazelnut oil on hand that Molly suggested, but the sesame oil nonetheless contributed a subtle nutty flavor.  I recommend mixing up the vinaigrette in a glass jar: first, it's super easy to emulsify the oils by a few shakes of the (tightly capped) jar, and second, the recipe makes quite a bit of vinaigrette, and having it already in the jar will make it easy to store any leftovers for your next salad.

As for the salad itself, the sweet slivers of apple contrast nicely with the mellow celery root and fresh fennel.  I know raw isn't for everyone, but if you are the mood for something super healthy and cleansing, this is the salad for you!

Celery root (or celeriac) is a frequently-overlooked vegetable, but it's really quite a fun vegetable to play around with.  Substitute part of your potatoes with celeriac in your next batch of mashed potatoes, or try roasting cubes of celeriac along with other root vegetables.  Or, just julienne and add it raw to a salad, like this one!  Here's how I recommend you prepare it:

Wash and peel the celery root with a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife.  Then cut the root in half, vertically, and place the cut side down.  Slice thinly,
then stack the slices and cut them crosswise into matchsticks.

To prepare the fennel, cut the bulb in half vertically,
then place the cut side down and thinly slice.  You can julienne the fennel too, but you might want to leave some of the slices intact for fun visual contrast.

By the way, the recipe calls for a "medium" celery root; if you're wondering how big that is, I'd say think no bigger than a softball.  Mine was slightly larger and I ended up having a huge salad!  I really loved the apple flavors, so I added a second one into the mix.

Crunchy and fresh, I think you'll enjoy munching on this!

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