Meatless Mondays: Celery Root Remoulade
Why meatless on Mondays? Not only is eating less animal protein a healthy diet choice, but curbing your meat consumption can have a significant environmental impact too. In 2006, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture accounted for a full 19 percent of greenhouse gases—more than the transportation sector. Best of all, with recipes like these, going meatless can be a delicious weekly habit.
The celery root is a gnarly beast. Pick up one of the softball-size rounds, and you’ll notice its surface is pocked and scarred by months of slow-growing in the dirt. And that dirt has become a part of it. The fine roots at the bottom still grasp a silt too fine to brush away but too coarse to let go of. No amount of washing that will render it free of earth. This is a root that makes it hard to imagine any level of cuisine above peasant status.
There are other roots that seem to have lofty aspirations: the potato, with its silky cooked flesh. The Japanese turnip, with its perfectly round, snow-white sphere and crisp green shoots. These roots make sense on a celebratory, elevated holiday table. But the celery root? To make that thing worthy of your guests will take some doing.
Of course, the French figured out how to take a lowly root and magically peel and julienne it into a dish fit for kings. Once you realize what they’ve done, you see it’s not magic at all—it’s mayonnaise.
Celery root remoulade is a standard at my table this time of year. A lowly, dirty root, tamed with a knife and tossed with a super-flavorful mayonnaise with capers and herbs, becomes a starter that always raises eyebrows.
Celery Root Remoulade
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds celery root
1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade or store bought)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup mixed herbs, such as chervil, parsley, celery leaves, or chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim the root end of the celery root. Peel the root with a vegetable peeler; then slice it very thinly (about one-eighth of an inch thick) using a slicer. Stack the slices; then cut them into long matchsticks.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire, capers, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste; then stir in the celery root. Serve as a first course with salad greens.