Sunday, November 18, 2007

Recipe of the week from Salads: American celeriac salad

This was going to be the dish of the week. I chose it because I have never (knowingly) eaten celeriac, and because it is recommended as good with ham, which is what I had decided to have for Sunday dinner. Unfortunately, availability intervened. For months I have been noticing celeriac roots when I have gone shopping, and thought “this I’ll have to try”, but then when I was going to buy one, it wasn’t available. I tried three supermarkets and found nothing, so I thought I would have to fall back on my second choice, a potato salad.

4-6 servings.

1/2 celeriac root (about 250 g)
2 apples
50 g shelled walnuts

150 ml (150 g) mayonnaise
100 ml whipping cream
2-3 tsp lemon juice

Peel and julienne the celeriac and cook for a few minutes in lightly salted water. Drain and cool. Peel the apples and cut into cubes. Coarsely chop the walnuts, reserving a few whole kernels to use for garnish. Mix together celeriac, apple pieces and walnuts.

Mix together the cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Pour over the salad and stir to mix. Garnish with walnut kernels.

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Once I have tried the salad with walnuts I will replace the photo with one that has walnuts in it.


I went to a supermarket (a different one from the ones I visited yesterday) to get some ingredients for the potato salad after I posted the recipe, and guess what I found? Celeriac. So I decided to make this salad after all as dish of the week.

This was not the end of my ingredient problems. The ham was in the oven, getting the final glaze and the potato wedges were being roasted when I began assembling the salad. The julienned celeriac was cooked and cooled, I had a nice sweet-tart apple all chopped up, the sauce was smooth and nice – and then I opened the packet of walnut kernels to discover they were rancid, a good couple of months before the sell-by date. I had no choice but to make a run to the small after-hours supermarket that is conveniently situated about 5 minutes from where I live. They had no walnuts, so I had to improvise and bought pecan nuts instead. They have a flavour reminiscent of walnuts, although they are sweeter and not as flavourful or as crunchy.

And now for the Review:

This salad is actually a variation on the classic Waldorf salad, using a slightly more elaborate sauce and cooked celeriac instead of raw celery, so the flavour is milder and the salad is not as crunchy as the original. I served it on the side with slices of smoked ham that I glazed with a mixture of ketchup and brown sugar.

The salad had a nice texture, it was mild with bursts of stronger flavour from the nuts and celeriac, but I should have used a tart apple to get more flavour. It went down well with the ham and garlic-flavoured potato wedges.

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