Quick Celery Root Salad with Capers and Lemon, A Christmas Treat With the Taste of Days Gone By
Quick Celery Root Salad with Capers and Lemon

Here's winter salad with the promise of spring -- a tangy, crispy, lemony shredded slaw with the delicate flavor of celery.

Except it's not made with spring celery -- it's made with celery root, that intimidating troll of the farmer's market. But this salad shows how pretty it can be.

I whipped up this quick salad in nearly no time one evening late last winter.

A knobbly head of celeriac (celery root) had been languishing for over a week, and it was high time to put it to use. Spring was on its way, after all; time to put the root vegetables to rest. I had been planning on a puree or a gratin, but the weather was so springlike I just didn't have the heart for yet another hot dish.

So I peeled the celery root (not as hard as it sounds; see note below), and then shredded it quickly with a mandoline. My Benriner mandoline slicer has an attachment that slices root vegetables like this into short, flat matchsticks -- perfect for a crunchy salad. (Never tried a Benriner? Go buy one: you'll find it indispensable.)

Then I tossed the tender, faintly sweet sticks with a little bit of tangy vinaigrette, parsley and capers. The final salad had hints of sweetness and fresh celery, with a strong lemon tang and juicy saltiness from those capers. Delicious! You could add a bit of shaved Parmesan if you wanted it richer or saltier, but this salad was the perfect accompaniment as it was. It goes well with richer dinners; we had goat shanks and a rich sauce, and this was light and fresh in comparison.

Peeling celery root: Celery root's skin is too tough and bumpy to peel with a vegetable peeler. Use a sharp chef's knife. First, lay the root on its side on a cutting board, and slice off the bottom and the top of the root. Stand it upright on its bottom; it should be stable. Cut the remaining peel off in vertical strips from top to bottom, following the shape of the root. Continue cutting until you have removed all of the skin. Now it's ready for slicing.

Celery Root Salad Recipe with Capers and Lemon

Serves 4

1 lemon, juiced

1 head celery root, peeled

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons walnut oil

1/4 cup good olive oil

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/3 cup juicy capers, rinsed

Small handful Italian parsley, chopped

Peel the celery root and shred it. Stop halfway through and sprinkle with a tablespoon of the lemon juice to keep the root from turning brown. Shred the other half and toss with another tablespoon of lemon juice. Salt and pepper liberally and toss.

Whisk the remaining lemon juice with the walnut oil, olive oil, sugar and vinegar. Taste and adjust. Toss with the celery root, capers and chopped parsley. Serve.

Faith Durand in managing editor of TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking.

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Quick Celery Root Salad with Capers and Lemons - Recipe

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