Celery Rémoulade

Celery Remoulade

Sometimes you need to trust the classics.

Two times I found a celeriac in my possession, and two times I let it go to waste. I wanted to use it. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to eat it.

Every article I read about celeriac starts the same way: It’s ugly and unpopular, but I swear you’ll like it! It’s humble, gnarly, and caked in dirt, but just try it! It’s tough and fibrous, but treat it right, and you’ll fall in love.

Celeriac certainly has a small but passionate fan club. But even much-loathed brussels sprouts make it to the table during the holidays (I, for one, adore them), and no one has ever attempted to serve me celery root. I figured that if it actually tasted good, it must be such a pain in the ass to prepare it that it wasn’t worth the time.

CelariacA brief rundown of celeriac: It’s a root vegetable, and it’s not simply the root of green ribbed celery, but a related plant. It’s about the size of an oblong baseball (or slightly larger), and it’s covered in twisted, knotted roots that collect dirt. The prevailing flavor is celery, but a milder, nuttier flavor than the crispy stalks provide. Some people taste notes of anise, but I didn’t detect that personally. It’s in the same family as carrots, coriander, cumin, fennel, parsley and lovage. It keeps ridiculously well in your refrigerator; wikipedia says you can get 3-4 months of storage out of it if it doesn’t dry out. I wouldn’t keep one that long, but I mention it to underscore the fact I seriously did not have an excuse for not eating the first two I had; it’s not like they went bad.

I remembered today that I had a third, fragrant celeriac taking up room in my refrigerator thanks to my CSA. Stewart was at the office, so I figured I could scrape the whole mess into the trash and pretend nothing had happened, should something go awry. All I needed was a recipe.

People use celery root in a lot of dishes (supposedly), but the classic recipe is something called celery rémoulade. It’s French, and it seems to be as popular in France as cole slaw is here in the states. Since it’s easy to prepare, and widely consumed, I figured celery rémoulade was a good bet. But I needed one final piece of insurance—I adapted a recipe from Julia Child. If I didn’t like celery root prepared this way, chances are I wasn’t going to like it at all.

I’ll quit stalling and tell you what I thought. Holy crap this stuff is good. It wasn’t at all bitter, and shredding and tenderizing the root changed what might have been described as tough and fibrous into delightfully crunchy. The celery flavor tasted… well… warm. If warm was a flavor instead of a feeling, it might taste like celery rémoulade. The creamy Dijon dressing really brought it together, and I can’t wait to have some with my dinner. You should definitely, definitely try this out.

Celery Rémoulade — Adapted from Julia Child
Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Celeriac

1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard (check label and make sure there are no eggs in it!)
3 Tbs Boiling Water
1/3 — 1/2 Cup Mild Oil (canola, safflower)
2 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp Salt (or more to taste)
1/3 — 1/2 Cup Veganaise (vegan mayo)
3 Tbs Fresh Parsley, chopped

Place salt and lemon juice in the bottom of a large bowl. Rinse the root and remove as much dirt as possible with a brush. Using a large, sharp chef’s knife, remove the skin, cutting away the twisted roots. Working quickly (the root will discolor if exposed to air too long), quarter the root and shred finely in a food processor. Add the shredded celeriac to the bowl containing the salt and lemon and toss well, making sure all of the pieces are coated. Leave to tenderize for 20 minutes while preparing dressing. The lemon juice will protect it from browning.

IMG_8883.jpgShredded Celeriac

Place another bowl over a pot of warm water on the stove, warming the bowl (like a double-boiler). Add mustard and water and whisk well. Gently drizzle in the oil and whisk to emulsify—take your time so the dressing doesn’t “break”. Dribble in the vinegar, whisking all the while. Add salt.

Rinse the celery root with fresh water and dry well, rolling it in paper towels and squeezing out as much water as you can. Put it back in the bowl (dry the bowl, too) and add the dressing and toss well. Fold in the Veganaise and parsley.

You can eat it immediately, but this refrigerates well. The longer it is refrigerated, up to a few days, the more tender the celeriac gets.

Celery Remoulade


  1. kat

    Very cool!

    Lauren, you’re like the ultimate crusader for popularizing maligned vegetables…hehe. First rutabaga, now celeriac. I’m eager to try both thanks to your posts!

  2. Allison

    Wow, I’ve never tried celeriac raw, but this looks great! It’s also really good if you use it in mashed potatoes, just sub half the potatoes you’d normally use with celeriac. They cook just like potatoes and add a nice subtle flavor.

  3. daphne

    this post makes me seriously happy because a, i love celery root and b, i actually have one for a change. normally i either roast thin slices with salt, pepper and olive oil, or use it cubed in a soup. i’ve nibbled on it raw before but never in a fancy way, so this is very tempting! *crosses fingers that we have enough dijon*

    also, i don’t know if it’s a general or local issue, but sometimes organic celery root is sold that is less than half the size of the familiar “baseball” type, so it may take 2-4 to make this salad if that’s all anyone can find.

  4. Robin

    I absolutely adore celeriac, but never discovered it until I moved to the UK.

    I think it roasts fantastically well, and makes a lovely soup along with apple or pear (or even cider).

  5. Maggie

    i just received a celeriac in my CSA box too! although, it was listed as ‘celery root’ so i was led a bit astray–i thought it was indeed the root of the celery plant. i had no idea what i was going to do with the bugger.

    i do love me some coleslaw, so between you and julia i just might have to try this recipe.

  6. Keira

    There’s a raw potluck that I go to sometimes that I bet I could adapt this recipe for… I’m thinking some kind of nut-cream instead of the vegan mayo… Thank you

  7. Crystal

    Very cool – I’ve often wondered what celeric looks like and now I know. yes, I could have looked it up myself, but it comes in so handy that you just posted on it!!

  8. Rachael

    i think that this may be a way of getting my celery-phobic (seriously, its kind of ridiculous) partner to eat celeriac. I have always wanted to try it but it seem silly to buy some just for me when i’m making food for the two of us. maybe if i tell her its not really celery root…

  9. Kittenbutt

    Celeriac is really popular here in Germany, but I think some people are more sensitive to that “note” of anise that you talk about. I hate anise and I think celeriac reeks of anise, which sucks, because I find the root very interesting, especially after your post!

  10. Suzie

    Where does one go about purchasing a celeriac? I’ve never heard of it. I’m learning about all kinds of root veggies on this blog. ;) I think maybe if I eat more of it, I’ll be healthier and more balanced. That’s just my theory.

  11. smoothie

    oh yum! this is really good. i’ve been feeling like french food for a while, so tonight i’m making a tarte and i’ve made this and some green salad with a vinaigrette. it is really good!

    ps. the tester forum is down, any idea why?

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  13. Gwenlet

    I fell in love with celeriac in France when I was 16. The last time I was there, I was too poor to have any! I’m totally going to try and make my own now–thank you!

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  15. Mirjam

    Celeriac is great, and you should try celeriac-pear soup as well!! It’s heavenly delicious, and what’s more: extremely simple too. What you need:
    1 onion
    half a celeriac, peeled and diced
    3 pears, diced as well
    1 l vegetable stock
    salt and pepper

  16. Zlamushka

    oh, just perfect. I am super nuts about celery, but never seem to find enough recipes to use up the whole bulb… now the winter is approachung, so the celery will be everywhere. thanx ….

  17. Christine

    oh man, I wish you’d posted this a week and a half ago! I picked up my boxed share (last one!) from my CSA and had no idea what these funny looking things were. Now I know!!! crap. Oh well, I’ll have to see if my organic farmer, Farmer John, has any left at the market tomorrow :)

  18. John

    Absolutely love celeriac. A very versatile vegetable, baking, stewing, frying, soup & saucing, steaming, roasting, soufle, and more. Stumbled upon your blog, very neat, great photos to, and congratulations on the Food Blog Award. Regards John

  19. Melissa

    This past weekend, I proudly toted home from the farmer’s market my first celery root and just made this dish… yum!!! Fabulous! Thanks for the recipe.

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