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Charlie says, “At the restaurant, oftentimes we take single food stuff—mushrooms, salmon, radishes—focus on several ways to prepare them, and serve each preparation together featuring what I like to call a “conjugation” or “study” of that item. In this case, we are using celery root, mistakenly underrated, underappreciated, and overlooked, but it is extremely versatile. For this dish, we prepare it five ways: roasted in a salt crust, poached in a method called “sous-vide”, braised in red wine, pureed, and raw in a simple marinade. At the restaurant, we sometimes take the raw marinated version and emulate the idea of making ravioli by filling them with something like a non-dairy cashew cheese. Also, we dehydrate thin slices or julienne pieces of celery root and use them as a crispy garnish.”

A Celery Root Conjugation
Makes 4 servings

Herbed-Salt Crust Roasted

This method is almost like a slow roast or confit type of cookery. The aromas from the herbs will permeate the celery root as it cooks.

1 fresh bay leaf, dried in the oven or in a small skillet
3 rosemary sprigs
3 thyme sprigs
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup kosher salt
1 celery root, about 2 pounds, washed and leaves trimmed
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Roughly chop the herbs and set aside. Place the celery root in an 11-inch ovenproof baking or gratin dish. Whip the eggs whites to stiff peaks. Fold in the salt and the herbs. Pour this mixture over the celery root to evenly coat it. Bake 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the celery root feels tender when pierced with a skewer. If the crust starts to brown too soon, place a foil tent lightly over it for the remainder of the baking. Handle carefully as the crust will be very hot. Let cool on a wire cooling rack.

When cooled, and easy to handle, trim away the crust. Cut the outer brown layer from the celery root, then cut into desired shapes or slices. Season with a little salt, pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Slow Poached Sous Vide

By placing all of the ingredients into what is essentially a vacuum-sealed bag (also known as cryovac) and poaching slowly in a liquid heat environment, the flavors are concentrated inside the airless package. With this method, the prepared celery root has an extended shelf life in the refrigerator and makes for a very convenient and clean way by which to prepare and serve.

1 cup 3/8 inch diced celery root
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Japanese yuzu juice
1 Thai chile
Pinch of kosher salt

Place the ingredients into a small bag made for cooking with sous vide and seal according to the vacuum sealer instructions. Immerse the bag into a pot of simmering water and cook until the celery root feels tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the bag and cool on a wire cooling rack. At this point, the bag can be kept in the refrigerator or frozen.

To serve, pour the contents of the bag into a small saucepan. Reheat over a low flame. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Red Wine Braised

This is a very simple way to prepare celery root since it is an ingredient that can pair with assertive flavors like wine. In this recipe, the cumin seed adds a little bit of an exotic note.

1 1/2 cups 3/8 inch diced celery root
2 cups dry red wine
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted then finely ground
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Place the celery root and wine in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat, adjusting as necessary, to maintain a slow simmer. Cook until the celery root is tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Add the cumin and season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Hold over a very low flame until serving.


This simple method deviates from the method for braising and doesn’t call for any cream or butter. When making the puree, you can omit the cumin seeds given in the braising recipe for variety in the finished dish. This is a time to use your best olive oil.

Red wine braised celery root (recipe above)
Extra virgin olive oil for seasoning

Drain the celery root or remove from the braising liquid with a skimmer. Puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor, adding a little warm water if necessary to create a smooth consistency. Pass the puree through a fine mesh strainer. Whisk a little olive oil into the puree to taste. Reheat in a double boiler or saucepan set over a very low flame, stirring from time to time.

Marinated Raw

This couldn’t be more simple. It is also used at the restaurant when we make our non-dairy raw version of ravioli filled with cashew “cheese.”

10 slices celery root cut 1/8-inch thick
Rice wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Cut each slice of celery root into two 2-inch round circles using a round or cookie cutter. Place on a baking sheet or platter large enough to hold the celery root in a single layer. Splash each piece with a little vinegar and lightly drizzle with the olive oil. Let rest for 20 minutes to marinate and soften. Just before serving, season each piece with a little salt and pepper.

For completing the dish:

One recipe of each method for preparing conjugation of celery root:

Pureed (one recipe, see above)
1/2 cup vinaigrette seasoned with coarse mustard, for garnishing
Herbed-Salt Crust Roasted (one recipe, see above)
Red Wine Braised (one recipe, see above)
Slow Poached Sous Vide (one recipe, see above)
Marinated Raw (one recipe, see above)
1/4 cup basil or other herb infused oil, for garnishing

Place a dollop of puree to one side of each serving plate. With the back of a spoon carefully spread the puree to resemble a swipe diagonally across the plate. Drizzle some mustard vinaigrette over the surface of the plate. Cut the roasted celery root into 3/4 inch thick slices, then cut the slices into 3/4 inch thick batons. Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Arrange a free form stack on each plate. Arrange the braised, poached, and raw celery root around the plate. Finish with a light drizzle of basil oil. Serve immediately.

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 © 2009, Full Plate Media, Lemnos, and SoHo Culinary Productions. CLICK HERE for credits.