It’s knobby with weird little tuber-things all over it and usually crusted with a healthy coating of dirt. You will feel like a total granola buying it, so dress as earthy as possible; wear your hair down straight and carry it home in a cloth bag, preferably one you made yourself from old t-shirts. We love vegetables in this house, though we are not even remotely vegetarian (I say that, then realize with a little shock that we ate meatless five out of the last seven nights). But this one was new to us.
If it’s new to you too, or if it isn’t, your assignment: Go to food store. Purchase knob celery (or celeriac (Seh-LAIR-ee-yak) for £1). Make celeriac oven crisps. You will not be sorry. These are incredibly delicious.
What you need: celeriac, olive oil, kosher salt
(If any other kosher salt devotees have to import it or beg it from generous American relatives (thanks, Mom!), you will be wondering if it’s worth using here. Yes, it is.)
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 F / 170 C. Cut the ends and sides off of the celeriac like it’s a pineapple.
Cut the celeriac into quarters and slice as thinly as you can. (Be careful, knives make owies.)
Put the slices in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and toss until lightly coated.
Spread on a baking sheet or two, try to spread them out as much as possible so they won’t steam each other too much. One celeriac should cover about two sheet pans.
Sprinkle lightly with a pinch or two of kosher salt. Bake until they are lightly browned with some white still showing, about 25-30 minutes. When you think they’re done, remove from oven but leave them on the pan for a few minutes to crisp up.
Feed them to the troops and enjoy instant popularity. They are soooo good. Some crunchy, some slightly chewy, all with an unexpected nutty depth of flavor. The browner ones are slightly bitter, the whitest ones are slightly sweet. . .
How long do they keep? I’m sorry, I have no idea. We always eat them all immediately.
I am grateful to God for creating celeriac, and to our friend Mark for showing up at our pizza-making party with a huge, dirty one. It came in their veg box and they were off to the Alps on a ski trip. (As Reasons Not to Use Your Knob Celery go, that was a great one.)