There are perks to living near a city with several of James Beard Award-Winning Chefs. Outside of the obviously great food at their restaurants, one of them writes a witty food column for our Sunday newspaper's food section. Even though Sandy D'Amato no longer lives in Milwaukee and has sold his restaurant Sanford to his Chef de Cuisine (and recent James Beard Award winner as well), he still writes his weekly column. More than a few times, he shares a recipe that I simply have to be make right away.
If you're not familiar with celeriac (also called celery root) and wouldn't know what it looked like if one was staring you in the face, it reminds me of a small ogre's head. Yup. Certainly not the beauty queen of the produce aisle, but, peeled of it's outer knobby and warty-looking brown exterior, it's a wonderful, mild vegetable. I've used it cooked and mashed in lieu of potatoes (delicious and low starch) and also in soups, but this was the first time I've used it raw. Not related to celery at all, celeriac is a relative of fennel, carrots, parsley and parsnips.
The Best Fall SlawAdapted from Chef Sanford d'Amato
1 pound celery root (celeriac)
½ red onion
2 crisp apples (such as Gala or Fuji)
2 ribs celery, cleaned and cut on the bias ¼ inch thick
6 to 8 pitted dates, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1-¼ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, or mint, chopped
Lemon cardamom dressing:
Zest of ½ lemon
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons honey (my addition)
To prepare the lemon cardamom dressing, combine the lemon zest and juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce to 1 tablespoon liquid. Cool to room temperature, then add the remaining dressing ingredients and blend well.
Peel the celery root to yield about 10 ounces. Cut into ¼-inch slices, then cut the slices into thin, julienne strips and cut those in half. Place in a large bowl.
Peel and core the onion, then slice very thin. Rinse under hot water, then in cold, and drain. Add to celery root in bowl.
Cut the apples in half, core, and cut into quarters. Cut each quarter into ¼-inch-thick slices from stem to bottom. Add to bowl.
Add sliced celery, dates, salt, pepper and parsley or mint. Mix in reserved dressing. Toss well, cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to use.