Usually when I’m planning a meal, I focus on one component that I’m eager to make. Once I’ve got that figured out, I build the menu from there. Usually, (but not always) I start with the main dish then I add a vegetable, side, and a salad to complete the meal. I like to include something green, so that we have a well rounded diet. This meal on the other hand, started with the salad, and it was not green.
I’ve been interested in celeriac for the last year or so. That knobby, ugly vegetable that most people have no idea what to do with. When I purchased the celeriac for this recipe, the woman at the checkout counter asked in an accusatory tone, “What is this exactly?” It made me laugh to imagine myself trying to find the weirdest looking vegetable to bring through the checkout line just to stump the checker. “Celery root,” I replied. I didn’t want to confuse her by saying celeriac (sə-lĕr’ē-ăk’.)
Once you peel off the knotty outer layer, you find a celery like vegetable that is delicious roasted, mashed or minced. I didn’t grow any celeriac successfully in the garden last year, but I hope to this year.
The salad inspiration came from Molly Wizenburg via Bon Appetite. It’s a salad comprised of celeriac, fennel and apple mixed with a hazelnut oil vinaigrette. I happened to have hazelnut oil in my cupboard (and it’s made in WA!) so I felt compelled to make it immediately. It sounded like the perfect dish for a winter evening. We also had some halibut in the freezer that isn’t within our 100 mile radius, but it was wild and from Alaska and I feel good about eating it. More and more I’m realizing that yes it’s satisfying to make a meal from ALL local ingredients, but more often than not, if I know where my food came from and the majority of it fits my definition of local, that’s good enough for me.
Anyway, we did have some freshly dug parsnips from the garden and that would be our vegetable. I drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper and roasted them at 400F for about 20-25 mins. Wow! If you aren’t growing these at home, you really should try. They are so sweet and perfect. I love them.
As you can see, it was a very monochromatic meal. Everything we ate was a shade of white, and boy was it good.