No, it's not an escaped Ood. Nor is it Admiral Ackbar. It is not going to win a beauty contest (this particular root is comparatively attractive - normally the bottom looks like a gangrenous beard. Srsly.) Celeriac is the root of a certain type of celery (if you grow it yourself you can eat the tops like regular celery, too.) It is unbelievably delicious in both taste and texture: all the nuttiness and crunch of celery without the bitter-mushy-stringiness.
Sparky and I forgive you if you have run, screaming, from celeriacs you've happened upon in the produce aisle - we can hardly blame you for fearing their shocking appearance if you've never tasted how incredibly delicious it is shaved together with apples in a light vinaigrette. Since we realize that sometimes cutting up TWO things is too much work, we offer the simple, classic French salad that nearly brings grumpy old Juilen and precocious Elsa to blows in Le Papillon: Céleri Rémoulade.
As we started to make this, Sparky said "it's basically coleslaw, but with celeriac, right?" Actually, in some ways he is right - coleslaw is similar, but the sweet-and-sour mayo-based dressing can be complicated to balance correctly. Classic Rémoulade could get complicated - but it doesn't have to. It's basically a flavored mayo, and in this dish, it's just flavored with dijon and thinned with a bit of vinegar and water. Easy-peasy.
1 small celery root or half a large one (shown)
Blop of dijon mustard (about a tablespoon)
Two sloshes of cider vinegar (about two tablespoons)
Big blap of good mayonnaise (Let's say 3 tablespoons, and don't sub salad dressing!)
Water as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
First, using a heavy, sharp knife, thwack the 'hairs' off the bottom of your celery root until you reach the creamy interior. Peel off the remaining outer shell. Using a mandoline slicer or a coarse grater (or, if you are lazy about dishes like me - a vegetable peeler,) grate your root or slice it into matchsticks or ribbons. (Note: use proper knife skills and equipment safety precautions - especially the hand guard! Celery root is delicious, but is a tough old monster that strenuously resists change of any kind.) Immediately put the cut celeriac in a bowl, slosh it with vinegar and toss it around to prevent it from browning.
Now, put your blop of mustard, your second slosh of vinegar and your big blap of mayo in a small container. Whisk with a fork, taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. You want something the consistency of salad dressing, so if your vinegar didn't thin it sufficiently, add a little water at a time until it is easily pourable but still coats your fork tines.
Quick onomatopoetic Céleri Rémoulade recipe recap: thwhack, shred, blop, blap, splash, whisk, fold. Done.
We garnished with a bit of snipped chives, which are optional. Enjoy!