“In a game word association, my response to ‘France’ would not be ‘Paris’, or ‘terroir’ but ‘celeriac remoulade’. A pot of that, the same of carottes râpées, some slivers of Bayonne ham, a boxed ripe Camembert, a French stick, a bottle of Côtes du Rhône. The perfect picnic.”
Niki Segnit, The Flavour Thesaurus
Be warned – this is not a classic recipe for céleri rémoulade. If you want that, you’re best off visiting David Lebovitz’s fabulous blog. And he even warns against ‘futzing’ with it too much – often the simple things are best in his opinion.
However, I’ve made a number of changes which I can argue persuasively are real improvements.
Every time I try to peel and chop a celeriac I end up feeling as though I either want to club it to death or burst into tears. This is ONLY worth doing if you can get ready-grated celeriac. If you have a whole celeriac bulb by far the best thing to do with it is roast it whole, adding in cream – go to The Only Way to Cook Celeriac – Because You’re Worth It – to find out how to do that. This recipe is only included in my ‘no-work vegetables’ category because it uses ready-grated celeriac.
I’ve swapped the Dijon mustard for grainy English mustard. The taste is a little milder, but the appearance is more interesting.
I added in the aniseedy fennel seeds which I feel echo the taste of the celeriac, and the walnuts because they echo the vegetable’s nuttiness, and also because they give an interesting contrast of flavour.
I experimented with using lime rather than lemon, and thought that made the taste more interesting.
I’ve substituted half the mayonnaise with Greek yoghurt, which makes the whole thing lighter.
People will tell you that this will keep for a couple of days in the fridge…. but in truth it is never as good, it tends to go a bit gobby and pappy, so make and serve this immediately – it doesn’t take long, it’s quick and easy to make fresh.
What to serve with your céleri rémoulade
Obviously, because of the strong mustard taste this salad goes well with ham.
But, possibly because of the walnuts, it also goes very well with chicken, both hot and cold.
It’s good with roast beef. Excellent with lamb kibbeh.
And, somewhat unexpectedly, it also goes well with grilled artichoke hearts.
Recipe for Improved, more interesting, English céleri rémoulade
For two – three
- 200g/7 oz already grated celeriac
- Juice and zest of half a lime
- 3 tbsps of a good quality mayonnaise – I use Delouis
- 2 tbsps grainy mustard
- 3 tbsps Greek yoghurt
- Good, generous handful of chopped parsley – ideally flat-leaved
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 25g/⅓cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tbsps capers (optional)
- 1 tsp smoked salt
- Generous grinds of black pepper
- Empty the grated celeriac into a large mixing bowl. Grate over the lime zest and squeeze over the lime juice. This stops the celeriac from going brown and the acid also softens it – you’re effectively making a carpaccio of celeriac.
- Dry fry the fennel seeds, and crush in a pestle and mortar. In the same pan, dry fry the chopped walnuts.
- In an ideal world you would mix the mustard, yoghurt and mayonnaise together first in a small bowl, but in a bid to save both time and washing up I admit I often add these directly to celeriac.
- Snip over the parsley – keep it as small as you have patience for – bits of stem are fine, there is a lot of flavour contained in them too.
- Put the whole lot into a small bowl and serve.