This is another recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook. My mom picked it to make last week, as she had never tried celeriac before. I’ve mostly eaten celeriac pureed in soups or raw in salads, so I was also excited to try this recipe—the celery root is boiled but not pureed.
- 1/3 cup whole hazelnuts (with skin on)
- 1 cup Puy lentils
- 3 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 small celeriac (1 1/2 lbs), peeled and cut into 3/8-inch chips
- 4 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 Tbs. hazelnut oil (we omitted this since I didn’t have any)
- 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- salt and black pepper
- 4 Tbs. chopped mint
- Preheat the oven to 275 F. Scatter the hazelnuts on a small baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Let them cool down, then chop roughly.
- Combine the lentils, water, bay leaves and thyme in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, cook the celeriac in plenty of boiling salted water for 8 to 12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.
- In a large bowl mix the hot lentils (if they have cooled they won’t soak up all the flavors) with the olive oil, 2 Tbs. of the hazelnut oil, the vinegar, plenty of salt and some black pepper. Add the celeriac and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- To serve, stir in half the mint and half the hazelnuts. Pile onto a serving dish and drizzle the remaining hazelnut oil on top. Garnish with the rest of the mint and hazelnuts. Or let the lentils and celeriac cool down and serve cold.
We weren’t sure what “3/8-inch chips” meant, so my mom cut the celeriac into a sort of short french-fry shape. I really liked the cooked celeriac! It had a nice mellow but distinctive flavor and the texture was interesting in combination with the al dente lentils. I’m not sure what the dish would be like with the hazelnut oil, but I liked the hazelnuts in the salad. The mint was also a nice addition, but I thought the recipe needed much more than 4 tablespoons of mint.
To make the dish a bit simpler to prepare, you could maybe cook the celeriac ahead of time, then drain it and transfer it to the serving bowl, and use the same pot to cook the lentils?
Update 9/23/2015: I made this salad for dinner with the miso tahini soup from 101cookbooks, and Derek really liked it. He rated it B+, and even though I made a lot (doubling the original recipe), he didn’t get tired of it, and happily ate all the leftovers. I also enjoyed it a lot.