|Oven-baked celeriac chips.|
Celeriac, the knobbly root vegetable with a labyrinth of wrinkles and tangled ends. It is often described as ugly, but I've always found it to be intriguing and full of character. Also often referred to as celery root, it comes from a special cultivar of celery that is grown specifically for the root, rather than the stalks.
When I first tried raw celeriac, I found it reminiscent to some vegetables familiar to me in Asian cuisine, namely jicama and daikon. Others have described the taste of celeriac to be like a cross between potato and celery.
Meanwhile, my first experience of cooked celeriac was in a restaurant, in the form of a velvety celeriac puree, a silky mash that was at once simple, sensuous and comforting. Years later, the memory of that dish still stays with me.
So when I first bought celeriac, I decided to go with a similarly simple, warm, comforting route: oven-baked celeriac chips. More tender and less starchy compared to their potato cousins, these fat and chunky oven chips are a great introduction to cooking celeriac. It takes some patience while you wait for them to slowly roast in the oven, but it is so easy and you are eventually rewarded with tasty, addictive morsels with a gentle crispness on the outside and a silky juiciness on the inside.
Go on, try it!
|Ready for roasting - celeriac tossed in seasoned olive oil.|
oven-baked celeriac chips / roast celeriac
(makes 2 modest servings)
1 celeriac (approx. 600g, or 1.3 lb), peeled, flesh cut into 2cm / 3/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Prepare a big bowl of water with a splash of lime or lemon juice, or vinegar.
Peel celeriac, then chop into 1.5-2cm / 2/3-3/4 inch thick batons. Place the celeriac pieces into the bowl of acidulated water as you chop them, this keeps them fresh and happy.
When you're done with the chopping, drain and shake excess water off the celeriac in a colander.
Toss together the celeriac with olive oil, garlic, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Make sure it's well-mixed and that the celeriac is nicely coated - I like to give it a little massage as well to really rub the flavours in.
Bake at 200°C / 395°F fan-forced (220°C / 425°F conventional) for 40 - 50 minutes. Give them a flip and a stir halfway through. The time they need in the oven may vary, but basically you want them lusciously golden with browning edges.
These celeriac chips will crisp up a bit more after you remove them from the oven and let them cool a little, so give them some time to do their thing.
Feel free to sprinkle a bit more salt and black pepper to taste.
Other ideas: Next time, I might try it with chilli flakes instead of cracked black pepper!
|Oven-roasted celeriac chips.|