We like to cook with local produce, but in late winter and early spring here in Maine the options dwindle and we need some variation. Even though greenhouse cultivation is booming in these parts, at this point in the year I'm always looking for a new idea to keep me interested.
In earlier times in New England most families had a root cellar -- usually an excavated cave with a shed above and trapdoor access to the cellar. Late-fall-harvested crops like beets, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, winter squash, parsnips and carrots could be kept cool but not frozen for use throughout the winter.
Fortunately for us our Maine farmers are using this concept to bring us locally produced organic produce throughout the winter and early spring. Celeriac (also called celery root) is one of the crops they're bringing from their root cellars.
You may have seen celeriac in your supermarket: it looks like an abused softball that's been dragged through the mud. But the taste (crisp and clean, with celery overtones) is addictive, so I can edure the stares I get from the checkers.
This coleslaw easily passes the taste and satisfaction test but there are other reasons, in terms of healthy diet, to pay attention to celeriac. Look at the nutrition numbers for this salad! Thirty-three calories per serving, only 6 grams carbs and 0 Weight Watchers points...a nearly perfect food for those of use who have to keep weight and glucose-control in mind. Enjoy!
8 servings, 3/4 cup each
- 1 pound celeriac (untrimmed)
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 sweet red pepper, trimmed of seeds and membranes and cut in julienne strips
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and cut in thin slices
- 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro, minced
- 4 scallions (white and pale green parts), peeled, minced
- Salt and hot sauce (or fresh ground black pepper), to taste
1. Cut the outer skin from the celeriac. Cut in thin slices with a knife or a mandoline and then cut the slices into thin strips with a knife. (Most mandolines have a julienne function that can produce these thin strips in one operation. For me they look too perfect, like industrial food, so I cut them by hand – but this is just a personal preference.)
2. Combine the celeriac strips, yogurt, vinegar, red pepper, red onion, cilantro and minced scallions and toss with tongs to mix thoroughly.
3. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce (or fresh ground black pepper).
Note: The flavors meld and the texture of the celeriac improves if this coleslaw is made 6 to 24 hours ahead of time and refrigerated. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Want more celeriac recipes? Click here!