Whenever I tell someone I’m fermenting/pickling something, without fail, their first response is always “what are you going to do with that?” And, without fail, my response is “everything”, said with a shrug. I made this post to delve a little deeper into what I mean by everything.
Celery roots are pretty large, so I’m often left with quite a bit even after making a couple of meals with it (like Colcannon with Celery Root & Carrot Top Pesto), making it a good candidate for pickling. Due to its moisture content, it takes no time at all to massage the grated root with salt before it’s completely submerged in brine. Celery root’s flavor is, obviously, reminiscent of celery, but toned down and with an added earthy-sweetness. I could speak of its versatility, but I’ll let the following recipes speak for themselves.
The recipe for fermenting the celery root is simple: peel and grate the celery root. Weigh it, then add 1.5% it’s weight in salt. Massage until the salt releases a good amount of liquid from the celery root. Place in a clean jar and pack down, making sure all the celery root is covered in brine. Cover with cloth and let sit in a cool, dark place for 3 days.
Apple slices with Walnut Butter, Fermented Celery Root & Watercress Sprouts
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices
~1-2 tbsp Walnut Butter with Dates & Vanilla
~2 tbsp fermented celery root
1/4 cup watercress sprouts
Lightly spread walnut butter over the apple slices. Top with the celery root and then the sprouts.
Grilled Cheese with Mustard and Fermented Celery Root
Two slices of good bread (any type will do. Pumpernickel would be especially righteous)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp whole grain mustard (I used a homemade apple cider & turmeric mustard)
cheese of choice (I used aged montery jack and raw cheddar)
1/4 cup fermented celery root
optional greens (I used pea shoots)
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread and cook until toasted, ~2 minutes. Flip both pieces and assemble: lay the cheese on one piece of bread and spread a thin layer of mustard on the other. Top the cheese with celery root and optional (but you really can’t have a grilled cheese without them..) greens. Cover with the other slice of bread. Press down with a heavy skillet to pack the sandwich together. Cook until nice and browned, flipping once more.
We don’t eat pasta often, we seem to only a couple times a year, but right after eating this Burton said he can’t wait until he has it again. And that’s coming from the man who barely picked at the most delicious spaghetti I’ve ever had (it was seriously beautiful), causing me to nearly right off long stringy noodles for good.
Pasta with Brown Butter, Sage and Fermented Celery Root
2 servings of pasta of choice (I used spinach fettuccine)
~1/8 cup reserved pasta water
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup fermented celery root
Cook pasta according to instructions in lightly salted water. Save some of the starchy water while straining. In a medium skillet, melt butter until browned. Throw in sage and celery root, cook for a minute then pour over the pasta. Toss until evenly coated.