Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just a Nice Shreddy Salad, Sparked Up with Green

I'm pretty close to a final list of recipes for the cookbook, which has me looking back to the early days of Trout Caviar (three years old now!). Where once the old standards appealed to me (and often still do), I find that I want to put a bit of a twist on things--and not inadvertently steal somebody else's recipe, just as important.

Céleri remoulade, the classic celery root slaw you find in virtually every French traiteur (like a Super-Deli), became a favorite the first time I ate it. It only suffers from being so...white, white shreds mixed with sour cream and mayonnaise, a polar bear in white tux and tails in a snowstorm. A sprinkling of paprika on top is a bit like lipstick on the pig, not really fooling anybody.

Perusing the produce section of the Seward Co-op for local greenery, I was drawn to a beautiful bunch of watercress from LaBore Farm in Faribault, MN. Chopping a handful into the dressing gave some green relief to that too-pale salad-scape, and a bit of pungency, and made the recipe my own. Also, in place of the usual sour cream, I used goat milk yogurt--a delicious switch. This salad really benefits from sitting for at least a half hour, one hour, better, before serving.

I've made a similar preparation using parsnips instead of celery root, and that was good, too. The parsnip seemed drier than the celery, so up the dressing amounts.

Celery Root Watercress Remoulade
Serves four as a first course

1 medium-size celery root, 9 to 12 ounces untrimmed, 6 to 8 ounces trimmed
2 pinches salt
juice of 1/4 small lemon

Grate the celery root medium to coarse, or shred it on a mandolin. Toss the shreds with the salt and lemon juice, and let sit 20 minutes. To the celery root add:

2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp goat milk yogurt (or sour cream)
A handful of watercress, stems and all, finely chopped, 1/3 to 1/2 cups
freshly ground peppper to taste
salt to taste

Mix it all together and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cue up the Amélie soundtrack, and open a nice cotes-du-rhone.


Tom said...

Just the salad for winter time; maybe a nice side for some hamburgers.

WeekendFarmer said...

mmmmm nice. Love you recipes. Are you in Minnesota? I went to school in Bemidji...: )

el said...

Hi Brett. Shredded root salads only appeal to me when it's really cold outside; glad to see you're into it too. Though gah I fear I am so not a white-cream (or mayo) salad person! (too many bad potato salads as a child I fear have thrown me off them for good) but yeah, shredded raw beets or carrots, celeriac, even regular celery is all in heavy weekly rotation in the winter.

I love watercress!! I nabbed some at Ms C's branch of the Kinnickkinnick the last time I was up that way...just yum wild food.

Trout Caviar said...

Tom, yes, it would really class up your burger plate. I could see piling some on pulled pork, too.

WF, I think you meant to say Brrrmidji(!). It would certainly have been brrr this past weekend--it was -30 near us. Where do you live now? From your lambing photos it didn't look like any place too tropical. Glad you're enjoying the recipes; I do appreciate the feedback.

Hey, El: I've had my share of yucky potato salads, too, and over-sweet slaws, and all manner of church supper-type atrocity "salads," but nothing has ever come between me and my beloved Hellmann's. And then, the goat yogurt gives this the gourmet tone. You should try it without the mayo, just some of your own yogurt, maybe a bit of olive oil. That wonderful...what to call it? "Savory astringency?" of the celery root tempers the creamy qualities.

Once we get a thaw I'll make my traditional mid-winter cress forage (without high expectations, given the recent bitter cold).

Cheers, all, thanks for writing~ Brett