There is something satisfying about baking in spring. The heat of the oven meets the cheery spring breeze and creates a very comforting cooking experience.
With the spring breeze comes the beginning of the end for some winter vegetables, and I am already noticing that it is getting harder to find celeriac at the market.
Celeriac is probably one of the most misunderstood vegetables, narrowly missing out on the top spot, which goes to kohlrabi. Both have a very unique, and for a lot of people, quite a strong, flavour. The trick is to learn how to cook with them and make them palatable. But for those who enjoy one or both of these vegetables, the challenge is in finding new ways to prepare vegetables that seem to have been pigeon-holed into one or two standard recipes.
After successfully preparing celeriac remoulade a number of times, and with the celeriac season quickly coming to a close, it was time to bake it – whole.
I chickened out from making a salt-crusted celeriac – I might tackle that next season – and chose instead to make a herb-baked celeriac, which yielded a tasty, albeit lumpy, mash. It was an interesting side, and an interesting way to actually cook celeriac, rather than just shredding it and tossing it in some mayonnaise. Just don’t try to full anyone into thinking it’s actually potato mash; it is much to celery flavoured for that.
- 1 celeriac
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 garlic bulb (broken into cloves)
- 50g butter
- Heat oven to 180°C.
- If the celeriac has a green sprouting top, cut it off and discard. Scrub the celeriac clean of any dirt and trim away any frilly bits of root.
- Rub the celeriac all over with the oil and place on a large sheet of foil, root-side down. Scatter with the garlic, herbs and seasoning.
- Wrap the foil around the celeriac tightly, place on a tray and roast on the bottom of the oven for around 2 hours. If the top is not very tender after two hours, continue baking for another 30 minutes.
- To serve, unwrap the celeriac and cut off the top.
- Loosen and mash the middle with the butter, some seasoning and squeezed out softened garlic, if you like.
- Serve the celeriac with a spoon sticking out of it for everyone to help themselves to.
Recipe from the Good Food Magazine as found on the BBC Good Food website.