I don’t wish to be cruel but a celeriac is never going to win the most attractive vegetable of the year award. To make up for its less than enticing characteristics you would have thought Mother Nature would make it easy to get inside, peel it like an orange for example, but the skin of a celeriac is as tough as old boots. That’s not to say it’s not worth the effort, the hand cramp and the awkwardness; it’s a great root to take some frustration out on.
Celeriac has a wonderful flavour, sweetness and crunch and it is at its best (in my opinion) when raw. Uncooked root vegetables must be dressed, it would be rude otherwise, and a classic celeriac remoulade is something I’ve always wanted to try. For me the remoulade needs to have creaminess, some acidity, freshness and a little mustard heat. Combine that with some lovely venison, peppery rocket and tangy sourdough and you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven.
You will need (for two): 1/2 a small celeriac Juice of 1/2 a lemon 1 tbsp mayonnaise 2tbsp crème fraîche 1 tsp mustard A sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley Salt and pepper 2 small venison steaks Rocket 1 small sourdough loaf
Start by making the remoulade. Peel, hack and fight your way into the celeriac and then grate it. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon and mix this with the celeriac. In a separate bowl combine the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, mustard, parsley and salt and pepper then add the celeriac and lemon juice.
Season the venison and then griddle to your liking. While the venison cooks toast a few slices of sourdough. When the venison is cooked leave it to rest while you assemble the sandwich. Put a little rocket onto the sourdough; this is to stop the bread getting soggy. Put the celeriac onto the rocket and then slice up the venison to top the sandwich.
This is a fantastically seasonal meal; venison and celeriac seem to go hand in hand. The venison was juicy and rich, the celeriac fresh and crunchy, the rocket peppery andthe sourdough distinctive. I really enjoyed this for dinner on a rainy evening; it was warm, comforting and reassuringly different.