Roasted Celeriac is an amazing low carb alternative to delicious potatoes parmentier or roast potatoes. Perfect for a midweek dinner or the holiday table. Garlicky and deeply herbal. Why not serve it this Thanksgiving?
Parmentier – pär’-män-tyā. Meaning “with, or made of, potatoes” in French.
In the UK, if someone mentions parmentier potatoes, one automatically thinks of the beloved upmarket food store, Marks and Spencer. They have that heavenly side dish locked down. It’s sooooo delicious. I’ve only ever had it a few times, but it’s memorable stuff. Tiny cubes of potato roasted with chopped rosemary and garlic. Buttery, salty, yum.
Recently I had a brainwave. Why not ‘parmentier’ celeriac? Celeriac gets little to no love, despite being a fairly credible low-carb substitute for potatoes. It also cooks way quicker. Which is a huge bonus for a midweek recipe. So, despite knowing that parmentier is shorthand for potatoey things, I thought I would cheekily claim a bit of that parmentier action for this recipe. See what you think. And, if you feel weird saying parmentier celeriac, just call it roasted celeriac.
But first, let’s talk about celeriac.
Has there ever been a less unprepossessing looking vegetable? Its lumpy, ridged texture does not exactly invite you to pick it up. For those unfamiliar with it, in celeriac’s freshly dug-up state it bears more than a passing resemblance to one of the most feared of the Dr Who creatures – the Ood. Luckily, what you get at the supermarket is less likely to cause nightmares. Its tentacle-like pale roots, matted and covered in soil, are usually given a sanitising trim and wash. But, unless you have tasted it, or someone like me insists you buy it, you wouldn’t reach for it without considerable pause.
What is it exactly? Well, it is a type of celery grown just for its root. The leaves are way too strong for common use, but the hefty, fearsome-looking bulb is quite a splendid vegetable in both its raw (think celeriac remoulade) and cooked state. In fact, when cooked in a gratin, with cream and some potato, it tastes very much of summer truffles. Which is obviously a selling point. I have a wonderfully simple, and really good, Chestnut and Celeriac Soup that highlights this taste note. Without cream or potatoes, I should add. The truffle toast I recommend may help with that. 🙂
Other than truffles, what does celeriac taste like? It has a fresh, clean, soft celery flavour. Celery itself can be too strong tasting for some, but in celeriac form the flavour is much milder. More buttery and nutty, too. I like the fact that it lacks the sweetness of carrots and parsnips – although when roasted the little natural sugars it has comes through. It is a much under-rated and under-used vegetable. I hope this recipe shows you just how delicious it can be. And it is very simple to make, too.
Nutritionally, it is an interesting vegetable. Although I am all about colour in my recipes, the paleness here is not visual shorthand for zero nutrients. We aren’t talking kale-level nutrients, but celeriac is a decent source of filling fiber, vitamins B6 and C, potassium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. It is also very low in both carbohydrates and calories. Which, to me at least, makes its addition to a calorific holiday meal a no-brainer.
How to choose and prep celeriac
A bit of kitchen wisdom to make the most of your “Ood”.
1. When buying, look for a solid firm ball; heavy for its size. It may or may not have the roots still attached. You don’t want any soft bits.
2. In common with other root vegetables, celeriac keeps well in a cool (or cold) room. I store mine in a net bag in the garage. You may also refrigerate it. If it comes wrapped in plastic, remove the plastic, pat it dry of any moisture and wrap loosely in a paper towel or cloth. Moisture is the enemy of root vegetables! Only rinse the celeriac before you are getting ready to peel it.
3. To trim the celeriac, begin by using a heavy, rigid knife to slice off the top and bottom. Most of any dirt will be in the roots, so make sure to clear them away if present. Now sit the celeriac on either end and slide the knife down the sides to gradually remove the skin. Most Y-peelers aren’t up to the job of peeling celeriac. Using a knife actually takes less time. But it must be a heavy, sturdy knife unless you are exceedingly cautious.
4. If you aren’t using your peeled and cut celeriac right away, cover it in water with a squeeze of lemon added. This will keep it from browning (oxidising). You may need to place a plate on top to keep them under the acidulated water. I would do this only only the day of cooking or grating it.
Using your celeriac
As for eating it, as I wrote above, you can have celeriac raw or cooked.
The first time I knowingly ate celeriac was in France as celeriac remoulade. Purchased from a gas station after a late flight, I think. To this day it is Andrew’s favourite salad. We all love it. It’s really the only raw salad that I crave in winter. This dish looks like a drift of snow: it’s just the white gratings of celeriac, crème fraîche, best mayo and a little Dijon and lemon. Very pale and glistening.
In cooked recipes it can be used on its own or with other vegetables. I would steer clear of using celeriac with strong-tasting vegetables, like parsnips. It’s lovely as a mash, or as half mashed potato and half mashed celeriac. This is a really gorgeous mix to top a fish pie or shepherdess pie.
Other Celeriac recipes on Food To Glow
Velvety Celeriac and Chestnut Soup – this would be a fabulous winter dinner party starter served with the recommended horseradish and truffle toasts
Celeriac and Carrot Rösti Cake with Remoulade Sauce – this is so good, my friends. And really impressive as a centrepiece type of dish.
Bean Bourguignon (incredibly like the meaty version!)
Celeriac Remoulade aka Andrew’s favourite salad (and just 5 or 6 ingredients)
Carrot and Celeriac Soup – it’s one of my very first recipes but a recipe I still make today
What’s in this Roasted Celeriac?
The list is gratifyingly short for something that tastes so good, and is so easy to prepare.
One large celeriac, or two smaller ones. The weight isn’t very important, but about between 800 grams and 1 kilo, or so is good. This recipe is very flexible.
Extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin rapeseed oil. About 2 tablespoons, to heat in the tray.
Fresh rosemary and thyme leaves
Garlic and shallots. You could use onion in a pinch.
Coarse corn meal or polenta. This is optional, but gives a bit of crunch. Roasted celeriac, because it lacks the starch of potatoes, will not get crispy bits. But the edges do get toasty and nicely chewy. In a good way!
Salt and pepper. I use a little San Francisco Salt Co lemon and rosemary salt (highly recommended if you are in the US). Maldon salt or similar is always better than regular table salt.
You can also add some grated parmesan or vegan hard cheese right at the end of roasting.
What to serve with your Roasted Celeriac
Celeriac parmentier/roasted celeriac is a fab side dish for any weekday dinner. We recently had it with a gorgeous wintry salmon dish I will be sharing very soon over on my Instagram. But it would be especially welcome at an omnivorous or vegetarian festive meal, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Why not try it with a quality nut roast, lentil loaf or something like my Cauliflower & Porcini Mushroom Wellington?
Diced and roasted celeriac with plenty of rosemary and garlic, this is a lower carb alternative to delicious potatoes parmentier or roast potatoes. Perfect for a midweek dinner or the holiday table.
- 1 large celeriac well washed, trimmed, peeled and cubed about 1 cm dice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil more as needed
- 2 tbsp rosemary leaves chopped
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves optional
- 5 cloves garlic bashed, peeled and minced
- 2 eschallots peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp coarse corn meal or polenta optional but adds nice crunch
- salt and pepper
- parsley chopped; to garnish
Pour the oil on a baking tray and place in a 190C fan/210C/420F oven to heat up for 5 minutes.
Remove the tray and add the celeriac cubes, tossing carefully with two heatproof spatulas. Roast for 20 minutes.
Remove and sprinkle on everything but the parsley. Toss around and return to roast a further 15 minutes.
Serve hot or warm with chopped parsley. Enjoy!!
Reheat-friendly: This dish can be reheated or made ahead. To do so, slide your tray in the oven and heat to 190C/175C fan/375 F. Remove the tray when it is hot, and pour on the roasted celeriac, heating up for 5-8 minutes.
Variation: add grated parmesan or other strongly flavoured hard cheese for the final five minutes of roasting. Or, you can just toss it through when you take it out of the oven and into a serving dish.
Pin now. Make soon!