How very rude of me! It seems as if I neglected to even acknowledge that fine specimen sitting to the right of last week’s endearing Cuban . I suppose, however, that when you stand next to something tasty and mouthwatering as a that Cuban is you do run the risk of not being noticed. Several readers you did notice and so I am hoping to make up for my terrible manners by featuring this wonderful salad in a post now.
Monsieur C éleri Rémoulade, will you forgive me my trespass?
I experienced my first celeriac salad nearly 20 years ago at the hands of Francois, the very young ‘old friend’ of my then boyfriend. Francois was quite good looking in that way only a European can pull off. Do you know what I mean? Had he not been French you would not only not give him the time of day but you would wonder how anyone could be serious about those pants. But he *was* French and therefore he read twice as attractive as he would have otherwise.
His pants would be all the fashion rage in the US in about 3 years, much to my chagrin. They still looked rediculous on me
In Paris Francois worked as an assistant chef in his father’s family-owned cafe. My boyfriend had met him on a Paris vacation taken many years before I came on the scene. Not surprisingly, the BF failed to ever mention him to me previously despite the many *many* times “The Paris Vacation” intruded on our everyday conversations.
Francois showed up at our door unannounced one steamy summer evening and surprised us by asking for a place to stay for a week. Just like that and without any notice. He would surprise me again later that evening by making a overt play for my boyfriend — right in front of me (and and after just one glass of wine!)
Later I would be surprised yet again when I finally realized that our visitor was just as surprised to hear that my boyfriend had a boyfriend himself! It seems that someone had neglected to tell me that a certain souvenier had been left behind in Paris unbeknownst to me since “The Paris Vacation.”
Francois would later confirmed for me that his arrival was not even a surprise at all (except to me) since his it had been planned long before he showed up.
Celeriac is the root ball structure of the celery plant and its distinctive flavor in this salad is quite popular in France. Rémoulade is actually the word given to the mayonnaise-like sauce that accompanies it. Together they are a classic French side dish . Around here its not so easy to find celeriac of a decent size but when I find one at the farmer’s market I buy it to make this salad.
This particular version of this easy-to-prepare-side-salad with a certain international je ne sais quoi comes compliments of the très beau Laura Calder . She hosts the French Food at Home program from her chic beautiful Nova Scotia home. (Actually I don’t think it is her real home even though that is the intended setup. J’accuse!) Ms. Calder makes her own mayo for this recipe which is actually quite easy to do and takes very little time but in the spirit of my leftover-makeover day convenience prevailed and I used the mayo in the fridge — something David Lebovitz has confirmed for me most French do anyway.
Classic versions of this dish don’t have have the bits of apple or fennel seed in the mix but seeing Ms. Calder’s inclusion of them was just the extra touch needed to renew my interest. I could now enjoy celeriac again without fearing the once familiar taste of Francois in my mouth.
The measurements below are estimates. When you make this please do so au pif so that you end up with the flavor balances you prefer. Traditionally the root is grated very course or cut into small matchsticks so that it doesn’t get too soggy or mushy when served. My mandolin was acting out so I sliced up small sticks with a knife.
This is what you will need:
- 1 pound celeriac
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seed
This is how you make it:
- Remove the skin from the celeriac, halve the bulb(s), and slice into very thin julienne slices.
- Julienne the apple, and toss both in a bowl.
- In a smaller bowl whisk the mayo with the vinegar and mustard.
- Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, to taste.
- Stir in the fennel seed, and toss just enough with the celeriac to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate until serving.
Cook’s Note: Several hours is fine: some would even argue it’s de rigueur.