Grilled Marinated Celeriac Spears
It looks like an old softball that's been rolled in mud and twigs and abandoned in the garage for a couple of years. Which is, I guess, why the supermarket checkers always seem to convey a heavy overtone of "are you nuts?" when they hold up the celeriac and ask what the hell it is.
In my book, it's an endlessly interesting root vegetable, combining the taste and healthiness of celery with the consistency and versatility of potato. I boil it in chunks and mash it with potatoes, blanch it in spears and add it to salad, make a quick remoulade with it, or put it in the food processor with some broth and maybe some other veggies to make soup. This was the first time, however, I'd tried grilling celeriac.
My friend Joe was planning to grill asparagus and corn for an early season cookout and asked me if I wanted to contribute another vegetable to the table -- and since I had a little mudball in my refrigerator this plate of French-fry lookalikes was the result. They were quite a hit alongside Joe's perfect burgers -- a tasty change of pace from the traditional backyard grill fare.
Grilled Marinated Celeriac
1 celeriac bulb
2 T olive oil
3 T lemon juice
3 T minced herbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp hot sauce
coarse salt to taste
Peel the celeriac (best done with a paring knife rather than a vegetable peeler) and cut in 3/8" x 3/8" spears. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, garlic and hot sauce and marinate the spears for an hour to 8 hours.
Remove the spears from the marinade (reserving marinade) and grill slowly on a medium hot fire, turning occasionally, until the spears lose their crunch and start to char on the edges. Return the spears to the marinade and toss briefly, to coat. Scatter with salt to taste and serve immediately.