Monday, April 4, 2011

Celery Root and Spring Onion Mash with Roasted Garlic

I've nothing against mashed potatoes -- I love them, just far, far too much. I cannot have a potato in my house without cooking it and consuming it (along with its siblings) with obscene quantities of cheese, butter or other dairy products. It's a fact that I can (and do) live with.

I needed something that would stand up (literally and taste-wise) to the jus and gravy from a pot roast (or a Thanksgiving turkey...), like mashed potatoes, but not BE mashed potatoes.  I saw a recipe for a spring onion mash but thought that wouldn't have the structure I needed.  I have been on a bit of a celery root tear and have seen many recipes and restaurant menu dishes over the years for celery root puree and celery root and potato puree. Boiled celery root has (approximately) 1/3 the calories and 1/3 the total carbohydrates of boiled potato (if that matters to you).

What if you cooked some spring onions down with a little salt and olive oil and mixed them with cooked celery root that you'd squeezed the bejesus out of to get rid of a lot of the juice and then mashed them together with roasted garlic?  Would it work? Would it taste good - delicious, even?

Hell, yes!

The first time I made them, I added some marscapone cheese and a tablespoon of butter and extended them with some mashed cannelini beans.  Yeah, you can do that and it's great, but last night I just stuck with the three basics: celery root, spring onions and roasted garlic.

Update: Leeks work too. 

Celery Root and Spring Onion Mash with Roasted Garlic
Serves 3-4

Equipment: stick blender or food processor

  • 1 celery root, peeled and cubed in 1" pieces (about 5-6 cups)*
  • 2 cups chopped spring onion (white and light green parts.**
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + extra
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic roasted, removed from their skins and mashed.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley.
  • 1 clean (very clean) kitchen towel.

(* add juice of 1/2 lemon to a bowl of water - throw your cubes in the bowl with a plate on top to keep them submerged in order to keep them from getting brown.  I don't bother with this step as long as I'm cooking everything right away.)

(Update: Leeks work too. I used about 3 cups (raw) chopped leeks (white and light green parts) and four garlic cloves.)


Add the celery root to a pan (4 qt +) plus enough water that when it simmers, there's at least 2 inches under it (the celery root cubes will be floaty.**  If you added your cubed celery root to acidulated water, drain and give it a quick rinse before you add it to your pot. Add a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, covered. Partially remove the cover and turn down to a strong simmer.  Check it after 15 minute and every 5 minutes thereafter. If you remove a chunk, you should be able to mash it easily with a fork.

Heat up a small sauce pan or skillet on medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil and add the chopped spring onions and season with a pinch of salt.  Let the onions cook down but don't let them take on any color - adjust the heat down and periodically add a tablespoon of water if the pan's getting too dry.  You want them to break down.  This will take around 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and once it's cooled down a little, add the onions and the mashed roasted garlic to a mixing bowl, or the bowl of a food processor.

When the celery root is done, drain it (drain it over a bowl if you want to make stock - see: Celey Root Stock) and let the celery root cool until it's lukewarm.  Line a bowl with your clean kitchen towell and dump in the celery root. Gather the kitchen towel around the celery root and twist it until liquid comes out (do this over the bowl - you'll use this liquid later!). Keep twisting until the celery root in the towel is moist, but not completely dry.  You will have about 1/4 cup of liquid in your bowl.

Dump the squeezed celery root into the mixing (or food processor) bowl with the spring onions and roasted garlic. Add a couple pinches of salt  and a few grinds of pepper and start to blend with the stick blender (or pulse in your food processor) until the ingredients are combined.  Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the mixture is too stiff, add some of the liquid you squeezed out - about a tablespoon at a time.  If you run out of the liquid, add a tablespoon of olive oil. When the seasoning and texture is right (kinda like mashed potatoes, yes?), add the two tablespoons of chopped parsley and mix just enough to incorporate it. Sprinkle each serving with a little more chopped parsley and a little drizzle of olive oil.

This can be cooked in advance and heated up in the microwave or the oven.

(** You could cut a round of parchment to fit your pan (with a little hole in the middle) and to keep the cubes of celery root at or below the water's surface - I'm okay if you do, or do not).


Kristine said...

I'm excited to try this. I just recently had califlower mash for the first time which was ok, but needed some dairy/soy product to give it that thickness. Both of which I'm trying to avoid altogether. And though I tend to have an aversion to the root vegetables, this looks like a great alternative to plain ol' potatoes. I like your idea using cannelini beans as well. I'm gonna make this a weekend experiment and see how it goes!

Ms. Divina Loca said...

I'm glad you're going to try this - I love it. I always like the idea of mashed cauliflower but the results don't have enough body. I think the technique of squeezing the liquid out of the cooked cauliflower (as I did with the celery root, above) would definitely help.