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Archive for March 2, 2012

COOKING VIDEO: Celeriac & A Celeriac Remoulade Recipe

 

Celeriac (Apium graveolens), a large, gnarled globe of a root vegetable, is one of the less attractive items in the produce section. Most people would pass it by without investigation.

But peel away the skin and you’ll discover creamy flesh like a parsnip’s—to which it is related. Its botanical family, Apiaceae—commonly known as the carrot or parsley family—includes numerous* well-known vegetables.

*Some other cousins include angelica, anise, caraway, celery, chervil, coriander/cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage and sea holly. Celeriac developed from the same wild plant as our familiar long-stalk green celery, but you’d never know from looking at them that they are kin. Over the millennia, different strains of original plants were developed for different reasons, some focusing on the root, others on the stems or leaves.

A Vegetable Of Several Names

Called céleri in French and celeriac in English, the vegetable is also called celery root, knob celery and turnip-rooted celery. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

We first discovered celeriac as a child, ordering from a menu at a French restaurant. We didn’t know French at the time, which made food choices difficult. But céleri rémoulade sounded like celery, a vegetable we enjoyed. We were instantly converted, and still order the dish every time we find it on a menu.

While there are many wonderful ways to prepare celericac (check beneath the video), with this recipe we introduce you to our childhood favorite, a classic French appetizer salad.

The raw celeriac knob is peeled and cut into matchsticks and dressed with a Dijon mustard-accented homemade mayonnaise called rémoulade sauce. It is delicious as a first course in a lettuce cup or atop greens, or as a side with anything you might serve with cole slaw, including charcuterie.

What Is Rémoulade Sauce?

Rémoulade is a variation of mayonnaise sauce, one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine (along with sauce espagnole, tomato sauce, béchamel, velouté and hollandaise, which is the fraternal twin of mayonnaise).

According to EtymOnline.com, the term rémoulade is derived from remolat, a dialect word for horseradish, the botanical name of which is Armoracia rusticana. There may have been horseradish in earlier European recipes; horseradish is used in Louisiana-style rémoulade.

Rémoulade is similar to tartar sauce; but in the céleri rémoulade recipe, only parsley and perhaps a touch of garlic is used to flavor it. Larousse Gastronomique shows that the full rémoulade sauce recipe—used to dress fish, seafood and other dishes—also includes chervil, chives, tarragon, capers, diced cornichons and anchovy sauce (a favorite condiment of the Romans, called garum).

Once you see how easy it is to make homemade mayonnaise—just whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice and vegetable oil—and how much better it tastes, you may find a new kitchen favorite.

Many recipes will tell you to serve the céleri rémoulade immediately. That’s because the cut celeriac will start to turn brown when it is exposed to air. While the rémoulade dressing is a protective coating, the celeriac will ultimately turn brown after a few days in the fridge—but it will still taste great. The flavor even improves as the ingredients meld over time.

Recipe Tip: If you find the raw celeriac a bit too raw, blanch the peeled halves briefly in acidulated water before slicing.

   

   

More Ways To Enjoy Celeriac

There are many wonderful ways to prepare celeriac—from soups, stews and purées to fish and seafood dishes. Search out recipes for:

  • Celeriac and potato gratin
  • Celeriac and Pear Salad (often served with fried cheese)
  • John Dory and other fish with celeriac and porcini mushrooms
  • Crab cakes with celeriac
  • Roasted celeric (with or without other root vegetables)
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    Celeriac History & Nutrition

    Native to the Mediterranean Basin, celeric grows both wild and cultivated around the world. It was used in ancient civilizations—Egypt, Greece and Rome—and is mentioned (called selinon) in Homer’s Odyssey, composed circa 800 B.C.E. (the exact dates of Homer’s birth and death are unknown).

    But in ancient times, celeriac was used largely for medical and religious purposes. It did not become an important food crop until the Middle Ages. The first mention of celeriac as a food plant comes from 17th century France (1623). It was commonly cultivated in most of Europe by the end of the century.

    Nutrition

    In addition to flavor, celeriac delivers high levels of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins B6, C and K. It’s also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health and general satiaty.

    Celeriac has just 40 calories per cup, and zero fat or sugar.

    Find more of our favorite vegetables.

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Irish Coffee Martini Recipe

    Don’t like beer? Mix up some Irish Coffee Martinis on St. Patrick’s Day.

    This creamy cocktail recipe is courtesy McCormick. Whip it up in just five minutes.

    Want the real deal? Here are the history of Irish coffee, the original recipe and recipe variations, including Irish Hot Chocolate for the kids.

    IRISH COFFEE MARTINI RECIPE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Irish cream liqueur
  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 2 ounces chilled brewed strong coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Vanilla whipped cream (recipe follows)
  • Optional garnish: green sprinkles or sanding sugar
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    Martinis work for St. Patrick’s Day, if they’re Irish Coffee Martinis. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    Ingredients For Vanilla Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
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    Optional Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream

  • Substitute 2 tablespoons brown sugar for the confectioners’ sugar and add 1 tablespoon Irish whiskey
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    Preparation

    1. Make whipped cream. In a medium bowl, beat whipped cream ingredients with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Makes about 2 cups.

    2. Optional rim garnish. Wet outside rim of martini glass with peppermint extract. Dip glass in green sanding sugar or uncolored coarse sugar to lightly coat rim.

    3. Mix and shake. Fill cocktail shaker half full with ice. Add first 4 ingredients; shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into martini glass.

    4. Garnish. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and optional green sprinkles.

    The toast: sláinte (SLON-teh), or “health” in Gaelic.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Find The Best Melting Cheese

    Want more melt? Try a different cheese.
    Photo by Paul Johnson | IST.

     

    If you like melted cheese on your burger, veggies and other foods, and appreciate the flavor of good cheese, go for some variations beyond bland American cheese slices. Take a look at the options below: Somewhere on the list is the best melting cheese for you.

    Due to its superior melting factor—it doesn’t have great flavor—American cheese is the most popular cheese chosen for burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.

    And it’s not even real cheese! American cheese is a “related cheese product” called “cold packed cheese food” (as one of our colleagues jokes, “It’s what you use to feed your cheese”). Here is the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations that describes it.

    The more moisture in a cheese, the more easily it melts. Not surprisingly, these are also good cheeses for fondue.

     

    Soft-Ripened Cheeses: Cheese board favorites like Brie and Camembert have naturally runny centers. They also have subtle mushroomy notes, so are delicious topped with sautéed mushrooms on that burger. Soft-ripened cheeses are uncooked, unpressed cheese, which, as a result, are creamy or even runny when fully ripe. They melt very easily. Don’t trim off the rind—it’s considered a choice part by cheese connoisseurs.

    Semisoft Cheeses: These cheeses, springy to the touch, melt easily. Brick, Fontina and Port Salut are popular examples, as are blue cheeses, Butter Käse, Edam, young Gouda, Havarti, Limburger, some Monterey Jacks, Muenster, young Provolone, Teleme and some Tilsits.

    Semihard Cheeses: This group, which includes Cheddar, Manchego and Swiss cheeses, is most popular on burgers (after the tonnage winner, American cheese). Although they don’t melt much, they maintain their shape. The difference between semi-hard and semi-soft cheeses is one of moisture: Semi-soft cheeses contain more than 45% water, while semi-hard cheeses contain 30% to 45%. A cheese can start as semi-soft, then move to semi-hard via aging, which evaporates the moisture.

    Hard Cheeses: Want Asiago, Parmesan or Romano on your burger or potato? This group has the lowest moisture content, so it will melt only in small shavings. We use a Microplane ribbon grater to get it to melt.

    Check out the different types of cheese in our Cheese Glossary.

    Burger recipes for every day of the month.

    How to melt cheese.

      

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