Sharp, sweet and crisp, Celeriac and Apple Tartare is a simple – essential! – winter side dish. A perfect complement to a hearty holiday or family meal. Put it on your menu soon and let me know what you think. Deal?
When you think of celeriac – if you think of it at all – the French classic, celeriac remoulade will come to mind. This crunchy, tangy, grated salad is Andrew’s very favourite salad. I love it too. A no-cook, easy-peasy recipe, it is quick to make and goes with almost anything. At home beside a roast, to accompany Cauliflower Cheese Cake, with my Pan-Roasted Salmon with Winter Fruit Salsa, topped with strips of Scottish smoked salmon. Or to go with any soup and sandwich kind of meal. But most especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and their leftovers.
Enter, Celeriac and Apple Tartare. Celeriac remoulade is the king of celeriac dishes as far as we are concerned. But if you fancy something cleaner-tasting to accompany your holiday meal, or a less-than-light A/W meal, this. is. it. Where the remoulade is a beautifully mayonnaisey, mustardy creation, this tartare is clean, clean, clean. Tangy with a touch of olive oil and honey to complement, I can’t think of many dishes that this wouldn’t go with.
We recently had this light salad with my new cauliflower cheese cake iteration, (above) Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Loaf. It was absolutely perfect with it, even though the loaf is not a heavy dish. Something a bit heavier that I KNOW it will be a faultless foil for is good ol’ cauliflower cheese. Once I can make some passable images, I will post my lower-carb version. But meantime, why not look up my 2012 Sage and Walnut Cauliflower Cheese?
Celeriac. What’s that?
Okay, some of you might not know celeriac. Here’s the lowdown.
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 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 far 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 many of 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 fibre, 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 an absolute no-brainer.
Is it the same thing as celery root or knob celery? Why yes, it is.
What does celeriac look like, and where can I get it?
In the colder months, most large supermarkets will have these lumpy-bumpy behemoths of the vegetable world. Find them with the other hard winter vegetables, like parsnips and swedes/turnips. I’ve started seeing it year-round here in Edinburgh, but I can’t vouch for elsewhere.
Some celeriac will sport some rather off-putting, tendril-like roots (think the Ood from Doctor Who). But most will be scrubbed up and trimmed, with only a faintly knobbly appearance. The colour will be creamy-beige, or creamy-pale green. It will also feel heavy. If you pick one up and it feels surprisingly light for something supposedly quite heavy, put it back. This is often a sign that it is old and ‘airy’ inside. A really great feature is that it keeps very well. Store it in a cool dry place and you can keep it for at least a few weeks. Only wash and peel it when you need it.
How to prep a celeriac
Start by slicing off the top and bottom, or at least one end. Settle it on your cutting board (trimming until flat if it rocks) and, using a heavy sharp knife – a chef’s knife is ideal – slide the knife along and down the contours, taking off the rough skin as you go. Standard vegetable peelers are rarely as effective as heavy knife and a steady hand. If you have chosen a celeriac with a cap of closely-hugging roots, cut these away first. Once peeled and chopped or sliced, celeriac will discolour quite quickly, so have a bowl of lemon or vinegar-spiked water to hand, sliding in slices or chunks as you go.
Don’t be scared of celeriac. Despite its sometimes fearsome appearance, celeriac is a wonderful, versatile vegetable. In fact, it is one of Nigella Lawson’s favourite vegetables: she picked it as one of her “heaven” ingredients on this past Sunday’s Saturday Kitchen show. I have quite a few celeriac recipes here on Food To Glow, and will be posting more throughout the colder months.
***Try my top-Google searched Roast Celeriac with Rosemary and Garlic, too! If you like the Marks and Spencers Parmentier Potatoes, this is its low-carb – and, I think, better-tasting – cousin! I make it all the time. :-). And while you are at it, click on “Stuff the Turkey, It’s All About The Sides”! This is my 2019 collection of 12 festive and winter side dishes ***
What you need for Celeriac and Apple Tartare
A small celeriac – you will only use part of it
Two good eating apples – crisp, sweet-sharp ones are best, but use what you like.
Pomegranate arils (seeds)- fresh from the fruit, or from a small pack at the store. You will only be using about 4 tablespoons of them. But go crazy with them if you wish!
Radishes – they add a lovely earthiness and bite
Baby herbs – I used very young sorrel from the garden, but tarragon, chervil or mint are perfect
Something sweet – Honey, maple syrup or a low-carb alternative liquid sweetener, optional but good
Lemon – the juice for acidulating the celeriac as you are slicing it up, as well as drizzled on the whole finished dish.
Best extra virgin olive oil – essential
Incidentally, I named this a tartare because tartare means something that is finely chopped and served raw. We think beef or fish, but vegetables can be tartare, too!
Will you give this simple winter salad a try? I really think it will be so good with whatever holiday meals that you have coming up. Let me know in the comments below what you would serve with this Celeriac and Apple Tartare. I hope you are all managing well and looking forward to the holiday season – albeit in a very different form. Take care x
Celeriac and Apple Tartare - a perfect winter side dish
Sharp, sweet and crisp, celeriac and apple tartare is a simple - essential! - winter side dish. A perfect complement to a hearty holiday or family meal.
- 1 small celeriac you will only use part of the celeriac; see below for leftover celeriac ideas
- 1 lemon juiced; divided use
- 2 crisp apples
- 4 radishes
- 4 tbsp pomegranate arils/seeds
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil more to taste
- 1 tbsp best honey or maple syrup optional; or low-carb liquid sweetener
- baby herbs of choice I used sorrel; other ideas are mint and tarragon
- flaky salt to finish
Trim and peel the celeriac. Give it a rinse, then place the celeriac cut side down (to stabilise it for cutting) on a cutting board. Using a sharp, and if possible, large, heavy chef's knife, slice the celeriac in half. Wrap up one half and slice the other half as thinly as you can. The thinner the better for taste and texture, I think. Add 2 tbsp of the lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and add the celeriac slices.
Core and thinly slice the apple. Top and tail the radishes and thinly slice.
Drain the celeriac slices and shake gently. Start arranging the celeriac and apple slices in any pattern - or not - that pleases you. Top with the pomegranate arils and sliced radishes. Drizzle over honey or low-carb sweetener, good olive oil, as much lemon as you wish, and sprinkle on some flaky salt and the herbs. Serve right away.
Options: add some protein by sprinkling over some toasted pine nuts, cobnuts, walnuts, or slivered and toasted almonds. Or, what about shavings of best parmesan or other hard, flavourful dairy or non-dairy cheese?
Method: Consider grating or spiralising the celeriac and apple for a less composed look. Children are more likely to give this a try if you grate this salad.
Make a dressing: instead of drizzling over the oil, honey and lemon, whisk them up and add some chopped herbs and poppy seeds.
Leftover celeriac: I've got recipes in my Index, but these spring to my mind as I'm typing - Roasted Celeriac with Rosemary and Garlic (to make a 2-person version), Celeriac Rösti Waffles, Velvety Celeriac and Chestnut Soup.