What is Celeriac?
Celeriac, or in Turkish, 'kereviz' (ker-eh-VEEZ'), is a variety of celery grown for it's fragrant, pulpy root rather than it's stalks. It's often mistakenly called 'celery root' because it smells and tastes so much like stalk celery.
Celeriac is native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Europe and is used in many cuisines throughout this region. You may have seen recipes for celeriac soups and celeriac mashes, but in Turkish cuisine, celeriac is lightly cooked in olive oil and served as a vegetable side dish.
Celeriac is a Turkish Favorite
This recipe for sliced celeriac and carrots is a typical vegetable side dish in Turkey which is served cold. A squeeze of lemon and some fresh-squeezed orange juice gives this dish a lovely, light flavor that complements the fragrant celeriac, and also helps keep the vegetables from darkening.
Like many Turkish vegetable dishes, this recipe is perfect to serve as a salad alternative or side dish to accompany your meal, or on its own with some hearty bread to help you soak up the juices. I like to have a plate of celeriac with a bowl of Turkish red lentil soup and some warm bread for dipping.
- 2 large celeriac (with stalks and leaves)
- 1 large carrot (peeled and sliced)
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 lemon (juiced)
- 1 orange (juiced)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- First cut the stalks from your celeriac and sort them, saving the fresh, green stalks and some leaves. Next, peel the celeriac using a sturdy paring knife.
- Cut each peeled celeriac in half, then slice the halves about ½ inch thick. Line the bottom of a large, covered sauce pan with the sliced celeriac and drizzle the lemon juice and orange juice over the top. This will keep them from turning dark while you work.
- Peel the carrot and cut in slices about ¼ inch thick and arrange them on top of the celeriac. Peel the onion and cut it in quarters. Coarsely slice each quarter and separate the rings. Arrange the onion over the top.
- Coarsely chop the green stalks and leaves you've set aside and add them to the pan. Add the salt, pepper, sugar and ¼ cup of the olive oil.
- Add about 1/2 cup water. Turn the heat on high and bring the pan to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and let the vegetables simmer until all are tender and the liquid is reduced.
- If the liquid seems too much, remove the lid and turn up the heat to evaporate the extra liquid quickly. Let the vegetables cool down to room temperature in the pan.
- Gently remove the vegetables from the pan and arrange them on your serving plate. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over the top.
- Garnish with a few more chopped celery leaves just before serving.