The other day my friend dropped off a bag of celeriac freshly dug from her vegetable garden, what a treat! Normally the only way to get our hands on the gnarly root vegetable is to drive across the stretch, and sometimes further. The knobbly orb seems to be more popular in the UK than here, I remember going to a party with my parents in the 70's and having celeriac remoulade for the first time, and fresh olives and paper thin ham wrapped around figs, and not a cheese and pineapple on a stick in sight! The partygoers seemed so exotic to me, the men were in brightly colored shirts, the women adorned with Indian jewelry and heavily embellished frocks, or were they smocks?
I grew up in a village which had a good helping of artists and those artists knew how to throw a party, usually the children had to be content with a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a coca cola, during the shindigs. There was a shift in eating patterns in the 70's, in my village at least, at parties the vol au vent was being replaced by a big chunk of cheese and some crusty bread, it was all so wonderfully Elizabeth David, with copper pots hanging over the stove, and orange oven wear from France, and kilims hanging on the walls.....this is the stuff childhood memories are made of!
This is what we did with our celeriac - pan fried some chopped onion with chopped garlic and bay leaf for about a minute, added cubed celeriac and some salt, poured in some chicken stock and cooked until liquid was absorbed, about 20 minutes, we had mashed potatoes from the night before, so we poured our celeriac on top of the warmed mashed spuds and then a sprinkling of walnut oil and sherry vinegar, this was a delicious surprise.......thank you Stephanie Alexander (again) and thank you my friend on the lake for giving me the whorled and warty delight, and for inspiring me to grow more!