Roasting root vegetables brings out a lot of sweetness that isn’t there when raw, think raw carrot vs roasted carrot. Roasted celeriac can be almost overwhelmingly sweet, especially if the aim is to make a savoury dish. It's not always easy to balance out big sweet flavours. For example, making celeriac mash, a lot of recipes will add potatoes to help balance out the sweetness.
On the other hand, raw celeriac has a great crunchy texture and a flavour that is slightly sweet but mostly earthy and savoury. A different experience to the soft texture and sweet flavour of roasted celeriac.
So how do we get the best of both? There is a really easy way. Simply, don’t cook it so much.
Like cooking a steak, the aim is to brown the outside without overcooking the inside. You can achieve this with celeriac very easily using the oven grill. 15 minutes in a really hot oven, under the grill element. This browns the outside while retaining the firm texture inside. Only vegetable oil is added to the celeriac to help it to brown. No salt is needed, adding salt actually brings out the sweetness of the celeriac which is what we are trying to avoid. Serving the roasted celeriac alongside other seasoned ingredients is all that is necessary.
Slices of grilled celeriac can be eaten in a sandwich, chopped into a salad or as a side dish, dressed up with toasted nuts and grated hard cheese or a green sauce of fresh herbs. It’s really a blank slate for you to get creative with.
Heat your oven to 250c on the oven grill setting. Cut your celeriac into slices of equal thickness. This is important to make sure each slice cooks evenly. If part of a slice is higher and closer to the grill, it could burn before the rest of the celeriac is done. Mix your celeriac in a bowl with a little vegetable oil so that each side is covered and place on a steel baking tray. Once your oven has reached temperature, place the tray on the highest shelf in the oven. Cook for 7 minutes each side.
Grilled Celeriac and Gruyere Cheese Toastie
Rye Bread (don't use bread with holes, or cheese will melt out)
Grated gruyere cheese
Garlic Mayo (inside)
Wrap in baking paper and fry over medium heat, flipping every few minutes until outside is browned and cheese is melted
*Wrapping in baking paper helps keep the sandwich together while flipping and makes for easy clean up.