Celery root is the most obscure of all root vegetables. Hidden behind all of its gnarly nooks and crannies hides a delicious white flesh, that is both bright and grassy. I have seen celery root served raw, but in my opinion it’s texture and flavors are best when fully cooked. I used to strictly use celery root in soups, it’s creamy-when-cooked texture lends itself to be a perfect addition to cream-less pureed vegetable soups. It wasn’t until I tasted a whole roasted celery root at ACME that I changed my mind about it all. I can’t remember the dish precisely, I just remember how this discievingly ugly vegetable now looked beautiful and magnificent. Standing tall, dripping in what I remember to be some wild combination of horseradish and truffles celery root never looked this good.
Cooked long and slow, celery root’s flesh becomes tender and creamy when roasted whole. While a bit bland by itself, whole roasted celery root is a great base to flavorful, complimentary “toppings”. Because ramps have finally arrived (I really wish I wasn’t as excited as I am!), I think they are the most perfect companion right now. The ramp’s pungent, spicy flavors compliments celery root like no other herb, exalting the grassy, celery flavor to its upmost potential. I cut the root into quarters and tossed thinly cut slices over the steaming vegetable. The heat cooks the ramps, and infuses the air with the most extraordinary of flavors. You could substitute for spring onions on a pinch, but I encourage you to scour for ramps if you live in the Northeast, the season is too short! A fat drizzle of olive oil and a healthy handful of roasted sunflower seeds round this dish off. I know this whole post has been a stream of superlatives, but I am just excited about how immersive this dish is as it comes out of the oven and onto the plate: a steam cloud enveloping the room with an exquisite perfume of spring. Cheers to that.
Whole Roasted Celery Root with Sunflower Seed and Ramps
Cook time: 60-80 minutes
- 1 whole celery root washed and dry
- 4-5 ramps, or green onions
- 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
- Olive oil to taste
- Flaky sea salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- Wrap the celery root in foil paper. Place it in a baking sheet and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from oven and cut into quarters.
- Thinly slice the ramps, and toss over cooked celery root. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and a drizzle of the olive oil. Add salt and serve immediately.