Truffled celery root and potato gratin

October 5, 2008 at 7:06 am (101 cookbooks, Beverage, C (2 stars, okay, edible), My brain, Root vegetables, Starches, Vegetable dishes)

I was trying to figure out what to do with a big piece of celery root in the fridge, and Derek suggested roasting it in the oven.  I had already julienned it, so I decided to make a casserole of sorts with potatoes and onions.  I was inspired by the Spanish omelet recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance, and tried to make a kind of creamy sauce to fill in the cracks between the vegetables, and hold the whole thing together.  I was also inspired by the Greek lemon and garlic potatoes from Cook’s Illustrated, and seasoned the dish with garlic, lemon, and fresh oregano. The final dish ended up sort of like a cross between a gratin and a frittata.

  • 1.5 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 3/4 pound celery root, julienned
  • 1 leek, sliced thinly
  • 1 small onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 3 Tbs. fresh oregano, minced
  • 1.5 ounces feta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Heat the olive oil on medium-high in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet.  Add the potatoes, celery root, leek, onions and salt and pepper, and cook until the potatoes start to soften.  Add the garlic and oregano and cook on medium for another 3 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and zest and feta and off heat.
  3. Beat the eggs with the milk, then pour over the vegetables.  Stir to distribute the egg mixture evenly.
  4. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the eggs are set.  Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes.

Derek liked this casserole quite a bit, although he said he wished there was more celery root and fewer potatoes (which were undercooked in his opinion). He also thought there was too much lemon juice. I also found it too acidic from the lemon juice, although I liked the lemon zest a lot. I couldn’t taste the oregano very much, and I thought it was a tad too salty.  The celery root was julienned so finely that it cooked much faster than the potatoes.

I think if I try this again I’ll use 1 pound each of potatoes and celery root and onion, and I’ll cut the celery root into a thicker julienne.  I’ll use half as much lemon juice and twice as much zest, and substitute thyme for the oregano, and an Italian pecorino-style cheese instead of feta.  I’d also like to add something with a bit of color, as this dish is very white.

When we were in Burgundy last month we had a celery root tart that Derek really liked.  It had a buttery crust, and the filling was a mix of gorgonzola, eggs, grated celery root and pear (or maybe apple).  This dish reminded me of that tart a bit, although the cheese was milder.  Celery root goes so wonderfully with fruit, another option would be to add in some pear or apple and use a sharp cheddar cheese.

Rating: B-

Derek: between a B and a B+

Update October 30, 2008:

I tried to make another version of this recipe, using some ideas from this recipe for truffled chantarelle, celery root, and potato gratin. I sliced potatoes and celeriac thinly on my mandoline.  I added a small pat of butter to a casserole pan, and cooked up a big bag of white mushrooms (sliced), adding white wine and truffle salt as well.  I added fresh nutmeg and thyme to the dish, but apparently not enough to taste them in the final casserole.  Once the mushrooms were starting to cook I added in the potatoes and celery root, and about a cup of water.  I let the vegetables simmer while I made the cashew cream sauce given in Heidi’s recipe.  I added about 1 cup of the cashew cream sauce to the vegetables, and grated a bit of gruyere over the top of the casserole.  I baked it at 375 until the cheese was melted and browned on top.

Derek really liked the final dish.  It was rich tasting and homey and he said there was a deep, roasted flavor he couldn’t identify (the truffle salt I think).  The celery root didn’t add a strong celery flavor. I’m not even sure I would have noticed that there was celery root in the dish if I hadn’t been paying close attention. I liked the taste of the cashew sauce (pretty simple, tasting of cashews), but found the texture a bit gritty.  It’s definitely something I’d like to play with in the future.

I enjoyed the casserole as leftovers, but Derek didn’t like it as much as he had the first night.

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