In the waning days of summer there are always a few balmy evenings when you just want to eat a thick, juicy steak. Which, oddly enough, brings me to celery root remoulade. There is nothing, and I mean nothing that goes better with a fine slab of protein than this Frenchified version of cole slaw. This crunchy root, lightly scented with the flavor of celery makes a delicious stand-in for everyday cabbage. The tangy acid in the dressing tenderizes the awkward looking vegetable and also provides a foil for the rich flavor of the meat. I love to eat a bit of steak and remoulade in each and every bite. In la belle France, they would serve this bistro favorite with pommes frites, but you could easily slice up some potatoes tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and brown them in a hot oven (or on the grill) to round out an easy, but delicious meal for family and friends alike.
Kitchen Counter Point: You’ve probably seen celery root in the produce section and wondered what you could possibly do with it. It looks like a brown, dirty, knobby round with lots of squiggly little roots growing out in all directions. I find it easiest to quarter it and then peel it with a paring knife. Sometimes it has the green celery like top still attached. Because it is a bit on the tough side, I like to thinly slice it and cut it down into little thin matchsticks with a super sharp knife, but sometimes I just shred it in my food processor with the medium shredding disk. If you happen to have a mandoline or benriner, they will make short work of the task as well. The mandatory rest in the refrigerator with the acid packed dressing tenderizes this ungainly root and transforms it, Pygmalion-like into a toothsome salad fit for filet mignon.
Makes 6 generous servings
1 large celery root, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks (if you cut them too thickly, they won’t tenderize) or shredded with the medium shredding disk of a food processor
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoonsDijon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours before serving. The remoulade keeps covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Tip: Remoulade goes well with a hamburger as well. Just sandwich your burger with the salad on a lovely toasted bun. Or, if you’re watching your calories, how about pairing remoulade with a simple grilled chicken breast or salmon filet? Your choice!