Lately I have been reading a lot about celeriac. Many folks have never even heard of this vegetable. Have you noticed it in the grocery store? It’s quite an off putting (and slightly ugly) vegetable. In his cookbook Simple Yotam Ottolenghi suggests roasting it whole…who ever would have thought of it!? When I have cooked it before, it was boiled and mashed along with potatoes. It’s a wonderful combination, probably more common in France. But never would I have considered roasting it whole. As it turns out, it’s delicious and easy, only requiring a bit of time.
Celeriac has green leaves and stalks that grow above ground and roots with a rough, brown skin that grow underground. While farmers grow celery for its edible leaves and stalks, they grow celeriac for its roots.
Some people refer to celeriac as celery root, but it is not actually the root of a celery stalk. It belongs to the same plant family as carrots and is related to celery, parsley, and parsnips. Inside, the root is pale and resembles a potato or turnip. Its flavor is similar to that of celery and parsley. You can eat washed and peeled celeriac raw as well as cooked. I am a big fan of parsnips so I was game.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of raw celeriac provides:
- 65.5 calories
- 2.34 grams (g) of protein
- 0.47 g of fat
- 14.40 g of carbohydrate
- 2.81 g of fiber
Celeriac is a concentrated source of many nutrients, including:
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
- vitamin B-6
But it’s particularly high in vitamins C and K. With only 5.9 grams of carbs per 3.5 ounces of cooked vegetable, celeriac is a healthier, lower-carb alternative to potatoes.
This recipe is simple but requires a three hour cooking time, so plan ahead.
- 1 – 2 large celery roots, hairy roots trimmed but there is no need to peel it
- 1- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, lightly crushed (Yotam uses coriander seeds)
- flaked sea salt
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F
- Pierce the celery root with a small knife, all over, about 20 times per root. Place in a baking dish and rub with the oil, seeds and about 2 teaspoons of flaked salt.
- Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the celery root is very soft and brown on the outside
- Cut into wedges and serve with a wedge of lemon, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a drizzle of oil if desired.
Cut open the celery root was soft, with the texture of a sweet potato and with a mild flavor reminiscent of that of celery hearts and parsley.
Try this, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s fun to be introduced to a brand new vegetable.