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Seasonal Eats: The Story of Celeriac

Celeriac at the market (Photo by Heather Parlato/LAist)
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A good deal of my winter food research leads me to these amazing root vegetable purees and mashes, where a variety of vegetables take your typical mashed potatoes and infuse them with color and flavor. One popular suggestion is celeriac, or celery root, which has the flavor of celery with a touch of fennel, and a nutty warmth when cooked. This nice reader-person asked if I’d write about it, and I promised that if I found some I would, so here it is!

Celeriac, or celery root, is much more popular in Europe than it is here, which explains why only one vendor at the market had some. Once you cut away the outer root mass, you’ll have yourself a hearty meal in the making from October to April. Celery roots are about the size of a potato, and can be used in many of the same ways, though the starch content of celeriac is much lower, with a glycemic load of 6. If you can get one with undamaged celery tops, the celery tops can be tubular and make great natural straws for bloody marys, Wikipedia tells me. Celeriac is also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese, and a very good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorous and potassium.

What I don’t need to describe at length are the myriad purées, mashes, gratins and root vegetable roasts you can do with celeriac. There are so many out there, it becomes more about your preference rather than how to do it. I’ll skip the details on these and give you my favorites of what I found: roasted root vegetables, white root vegetable soup, potato celeriac gratin, and potato and celery root purée. And don’t forget, if you’re roasting meat over a pan of potatoes, cube up some celeriac and add it in!