Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Last Throes of Winter

Though we've had a couple of seductive days of near-60° weather here in the northern Willamette Valley, it's still a long, drawn-out slog till good weather comes to stay. But you gotta eat, right? And savoring those last few cold weather vegetables almost makes you miss them before they're gone. (Yeah, right...) Jim Dixon of Real Good Food shares his recipe for a New Orleans classic.

The foods of early spring might trigger anticipation of the coming bounty, but produce reality means I’m still eating lots of cabbage (not that I’m complaining). Celery root is another winter favorite of mine, and I just pulled one out of the vegetable drawer that I bought at the December farmers market (the things will obviously keep for awhile).

I wanted to try out my new Zyliss julienne cutter (it looks like a swivel peeler, but with a row of teeth), so I made my version of remoulade. Strictly speaking, remoulade is a mayonnaise based sauce with herbs. My version uses a little mayo, but offers a hat tip to New Orleans, where remoulade is usually tomato-based and served with shrimp, with a little bit of Crystal, Louisiana’s favorite hot sauce. You can eat this as a salad, alongside fish or meat, or pile it on a sandwich.

Celery Root Remoulade

Peel the celery root (I use a heavy knife and slice off the outer layer) and cut into julienne (you can also grate, tho’ the texture will be different, or cut into thin matchsticks by hand, which will take awhile).

Mix a couple of tablespoons of Katz Gravenstein Apple Cider vinegar* with a little sugar (about a tablespoon) and a healthy pinch of sea salt (for cooking I use the fine Sal Marinho Tradicional from Necton, and I’ll have a few bags on Saturday at the Portland State University farmers' market). Stir in about twice as much extra virgin olive oil (about a half cup), a couple of tablespoons or so of stone ground mustard, a few shakes of Crystal (substitute with a similar vinegar-based sauce like Frank’s or use a bit less Tabasco since it’s hotter), and, if you like things a little creamier, a bit of mayo.

Combine the celery root with the dressing and let sit for at least 20 minutes (if you can wait that long). Serve.

* Jim informs us that, though it isn't listed on his website, he usually has the Katz vinegar in stock. E-mail him if you want some.

Photo from Seasonal Eats.

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