Monday, November 9, 2009

So how did it taste?

I have been inundated with throngs of people asking about the celeriac. Well, two. Two people have asked. But that is forty percent of the commenters, so if you extrapolate to all my readers, that means at least… let’s see… carry the two… SIXTEEN WHOLE PEOPLE are on the edges of their seats waiting, just waiting to learn what celeriac tastes like. So I’ll tell you. But not yet.

First, I have to tell you that when I actually picked up the celeriac, it looked even weirder than it does in that picture. How is this possible? Well, it originally had a lot of green leafy stalks growing out of the top of it. Now, I thought the celeriac looked sort of like a rutabaga or a turnip, so I mentally classified it into the “rutabaga/turnip” family of root vegetables, known technically as rutabagas turnipicus. “Whoa,” I said to the farm share lady. “How do you cook THIS thing?”

“They’re good in soups,” she said, an answer which is, frankly, a cop-out. Well, sure SOUP. That’s what you do with any vegetable you don’t know about. Sheesh, it’s what you do with a ROCK. So I determined to Google it when I got home.

In the meantime, I could smell the stalks of the celeriac from miles away, and they smelled bizarrely like celery. I say bizarrely, because celery is not a member of rutabagas turnipicus; I think it’s classified in goodus with peanutbuttericus. And when I got home, Andrew agreed. “Wow,” we said. “It really really smells like celery! Weird!” It smelled so much like celery, in fact, that I kept the stalks after I cut them off to make vegetable broth, because – what do you know – celery is ALSO good in soup.

The next day, I Googled “celeriac” as promised and guess what I found out. Go ahead. Guess.

Yup. It’s celery. Technically, the celeriac is the celery root, but the parts that smelled so mysteriously like celery? The stalks? Yeah, those were celery. You’d think that I might have figured it out what with the root being called CELERIAC and all, but no.

At any rate, I also found some recipes for celeriac, and a popular one seems to be to boil it and mash it with potatoes. I plan to do this with the second half, but I threw caution to the wind with the first half and put it in a stir fry. It tastes like – wait for it – celery. But sort of a mild celery. It was quite nice, actually.

Do not attempt to peel it with a vegetable peeler however. Celeriac’s hairy, rooty skin scoffs at a vegetable peeler. You’re going to have to use a knife.


Anne said...

This is making me giggle- when I first read about the celeriac I immediately thought, she knows that's celery, right?

Your kiddos are going to love that you expose them to so many different foods. My oldest is 7 and she still loves going to the market and picking out random things so I can make them for her to taste them. Even better, she often takes strange items in her lunch- she enjoys the shock value.

Carmen said...

It was with fond memories that I gazed upon your photo of the celeriac. I did my postdoc in Denmark, where celeriac is very common and celery is unheard of. UNHEARD of. I had to explain to people what celery is. And let me tell you, a stir fry without celery is not a stir fry at all; the addition of celeriac does not make it better. It's close, but not close enough.

I had to laugh while reading this post, because I figured you knew it was the celery root.

Krizzzz said...

Now that I look at it...I'm remembering that I knew there was something called "celery root" -- but I think I assumed that it COULDN'T be the same thing as celeriac. Because that would be, you know, too obvious, or something.

Also now that I look at the picture again, I can make out those celery-looking stalks at the top.

Color me sheepish.

Dr. Maureen said...

Krizzzz: Imagine how I feel, as I saw the celery stalks before I cut them off! (In my defense, they were 90% leaves, but still.)

Anonymous said...

Plus...I always assumed the bottom of celery looked...more like the way it looks when you pull it out of the bag at the store. I had no idea there was this whole other ENTITY involved.

Krizzzz, really said...

Oops -- that anomymous is Krizzzz. Hit the wrong button, too soon