“Eat your fruits and vegetables”
Here at the beginning of March I am finding it hard to make these two notions work together. My palate wants to be stimulated by lots of different flavors. Tom’s idea of a perfect dinner is when the plate looks like his palette; greens, and reds, with a splash of cream. (thank goodness he doesn’t have me dye anything blue)
Sunday is market day here in Bourdeilles and all of the vendors come from within 20 minutes of the village. You can’t get any more local than that. One could easily put together at least one or two meals for the week with the offerings of goats cheese, breads, meats, honey and vegetables. But I’ve pretty much exhausted our interest in the more obvious vegetables offered, so I decided to pull some cookbooks off the shelf and see what could be done with the gnarled, pasty-looking celery root that I have passed over each week since the beginning of January.
The truly ugly celery root-- it seems even the vegetarian experts are hard pressed to find much variety in the preparation of this miserable looking dirt dweller. I found two soup recipes, each one using strong cheeses to add flavor. One recipe with the title Blanched Winter Vegetables with Thyme – the word blanched was not a good sign. There were a few more recipes with pretty much the same ingredients presented in different ways, a celery root gratin or mashed celery with truffle oil and deep-fried apple bits.
I was tickled by some of the quotes that I found preceding these recipes:
“Don’t be scared of celery root’s rather gnarly appearance: that’s part of its charm and nothing a sharp knife or good vegetable peeler can’t take care of.”
“This delicate dish of springtime colors has humble origins – turnips, rutabagas and the often-discarded stems of broccoli. Though it may sound unlikely, it has just the cheery element that are needed in a drab month like January or February. Many people balk at the thought of eating turnips and rutabagas and will scarcely give them a try. It’s unfortunate that these two vegetables are so maligned, for they can be quite sweet and very good, particularly when they are young. Older vegetables will tend to be bitter, but blanching will take the bitterness away.”
I decided to make one of the celery root soups. It was delicious topped with parmesan cheese and accompanied by a goats cheese and walnut bread. Tom said there was no point in taking a photograph. It’s the color was the type that his Uncle Joe would call “shit muckle dun.” Fortunately he said this after our savory meal. There’s hope for eating celery root a few times a winter, but I thank my stars that I don’t really have to be a purist when it comes to eating locally.
A celery root taco, anyone?