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All About Celery Root

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2016

Celery root (also known as celeriac) boasts a crisp, firm, parsnip-like texture under its tough peel and a mild, celery-like flavor that sweetens with cooking.

WHAT IT IS: A variety of celery cultivated not for its stalks but for its knobby root bulb, celery root (also known as celeriac) boasts a crisp, firm, parsnip-like texture under its tough peel and a mild, celery-like flavor that sweetens with cooking.

HOW WE USE IT: A classic application is celery root rémoulade, where the raw root is grated or cut into matchsticks and tossed with a tangy mustard dressing. This versatile bulb can also be braised, baked, roasted, or made into a mash on its own or in combination with other vegetables.

DOES SIZE MATTER? We found that smaller bulbs (less than 1 1/4 pounds) had more flavor than larger bulbs both when sampled raw and when cooked simply in butter and water. The difference was more subtle when we compared smaller and larger bulbs in root vegetable gratin. We’ll seek out smaller bulbs when we’re using celery root on its own or in simple applications without a lot of competing flavors, but when adding it to a more complex recipe like a stew or gratin, we’ll use whatever is available.

TO PREVENT BROWNING: To avoid discoloration, place the prepped vegetable in acidulated water (1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar per 1 cup water).

HOW TO PREP: The tough exteriors of smaller bulbs can simply be cut away using a chef’s knife. Here’s a safe way to prepare bulbs larger than 1 1/4 pounds.

1. Trim stem end to create flat surface, then halve vertically. Lay flat on side and use knife to trim away knotty roots.

2. Using vegetable peeler, remove remaining skin.