Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Celeriac Remoulade

Celeriac is a new ingredient for me. I kind of assumed (correctly) from the name that is was related to celery, and the book's description quickly confirmed that to be the case. Celeriac, also known as celery root, is from the same family as the celery we all know and love. Celeriac is grown exclusively for the root, which can get quite large in size. According to Wikipedia celeriac is wayyyy less starchy than the other root vegetables. And we know Wikipedia is always correct, so I believe it.

For all intents and purposes remoulade is just a flavored mayo. Because of that, and added to the fact that I don't really like celery all that much, this dish didn't have have too bright of a future in my book. But we're here to learn about new foods and techniques, so I'll try and keep an open mind.

Just a quick side note, I have a friend that hates the flavor of celery. In fact, I'm probably in trouble for indirectly referring to him and celery in the same sentence. So Rob, this is for you.
Everyone else hold on one second....Ok, cool, the door is locked.

The ingredients for the remoulade are mayo, mustard, creme fraiche, vinegar, cornichons, pepper, and herbs.

I started the remoulade by mixing the mayo and creme fraiche together. After mincing the cornichons and squeezing every last drop of water out of them, they joined the mayo and creme fraiche. I added the rest of the ingredients, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and put it in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Up next was preparing the celeriac and mixing the two parts together. You would think that chopping some celeriac would be a fairly small feat, and you would be wrong. I started by chopping off the ends.

Celeriac has to have the toughest skin of anything I've ever seen. I was pretty sure that my peeler was going to just split in half and chop my hand off while I tried to peel it. I finally managed to get it all off, but it wasn't a pretty site. Maybe that was someone's way of saying, "Hey, this really ain't for eating."

What you can't see here is the disaster I created on the floor below the board. Oh well. Consider it my exercise for the day. Now that the pain of a skin was gone, it was time to cut the celeriac into 1/8" julienne. This was not nearly as tough as peeling the celeriac, but my knife skills aren't anything that would scare a Philly mugger away. That's a fact.

Once I had that all chopped up, I added just enough of the remoulade to coat the celeriac and put it into the fridge overnight after giving it a taste. It turns out that my low hopes were not unjustified. Hopefully those flavors continued to develop. Into something totally different, kind of like the whole catepillar/butterfly thing.

The next day I took it out of the fridge, added some more remoulade, and served the celeriac remoulade along with the roast pork from a previous post. It was probably ok if you like a heavy mayo taste along with the flavor of celery. Unfortunately, I don't.

It was nothing that I'd make again, that's for sure. It wasn't terrible by any means, they're just flavors that I don't really like. I also had to use this for another recipe, and it was actually a pretty nice complement to that. Oh well, you learn something new everyday.


Anonymous said...

I wonder how it would be with homemade mayo? I like commercial mayo (or as we call it 'evil corporate mayo') just fine, but homemade stuff is in a class all of its own. I dunno. It might help. If you ever were itching to have celeriac again. Which I'm guessing you're not.

Kitt said...

Are you following my failures around? Seriously. I tried to make a celeriac gratin recently and had to throw the whole thing away, after ruining a couple of peelers and knives on it. It was too woody to use. I think winter is celeriac season. But I will try it again, because I like celery.

mike said...


I bet it would be much better, but it wouldn't solve the problem of me not really liking celery. Oh well.

Maybe it just wasn't meant to be for us and celeriac. You get an 'oh well' too.

sarandi said...

I have the Bouchon cookbook as well...but mine turned out far tastier than how you described yours. You're right - a traditional remoulade is more like a mix of tartar sauce and thousand island dressing - but Keller's is more like a light coleslaw.

Here are some tips for getting this dish right:

First off, you don't peel celeriac with a veggie peeler; you use a knife.

Secondly, based on your photos, your julienne aren't julienne. They are huge - I wouldn't want to eat those tree trunks. They should be flexible and springy, not stiff and woodsy. I cut mine to about 2mm x 2mm x 6cm.

Despite being tough to cut, when you cut them to the described size, it's easy to eat and delicious. Don't overdo the mayo - but if you do, make homemade. I don't remember the last time I bought prepared mayonnaise - but my version turned out brilliantly.

Good luck - if you dare to try this again.