When my suki Edwin, the proprietor of “Fresh Fields” in the outdoor section of the vegetable/fruit section of Market!Market! Mall in Fort Bonifacio texted to say he had some newly arrived celeriac, New Zealand monkfish, snapper, etc., I sent someone over to purchase some of the goodies just an hour later… It’s unusual to find celeriac in Manila, though I have seen it a few times in the past (even some of it locally grown), so I get some whenever it is available.
Celeriac or celery root is related to celery, but cultivated for its meaty edible roots. The density and texture of the celery root is more akin to say a potato or turnip. The root/bulb, the ugly hairy thing in the photo above, needs to be peeled before use, but you’ll notice after peeling them that a really nice subtle and fresh fragrance will stick to your hands even if you wash them once or twice…
Just peel the celeriac and cut into cubes and boil in water for say 25 minutes or so until soft. Do the same with potatoes (in a separate cooking vessel) and drain. Mix the celeriac and potatoes and mash them together with several tablespoons of butter and some heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper (be generous with the salt) and add some chopped Italian parsley if you like.
I served this with some homemade chicken confit that was crisp and salty on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside. Some green beans and tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette on the side for a quick, simple dinner. The flavor of celeriac is subtle but very pleasant. A nice change to just plain mashed potatoes when you can get your hands on some celeriac… Thanks Edwin! :)