Saturday, 25 February 2012

Celeriac Remoulade

Life has taken me to France for a few months so some of the seasonal organic vegetables and fruits available are a little different to what you'd find in Australia at present. We are at opposite ends of the the seasons, being the tail end of Winter here. I want to continue my summer style blogs anyway. Wherever I am and whatever season it is, I always eat lots of salads.

When I arrived here in the South of France
and went into Moisson to do my first shop at our local health food shop here in a neighboring village called, Aniane (pronounced 'Annie-Ann') I saw the soccer sized balls of celeriac. Often known as 'the ugly one' which I think is a bit mean. Once you cut off the knobbly skin, it's a beautiful fibrous white coloured fleshy vegetable, not ugly at all. I though to myself I must make two thing before I leave here, one - roast celeriac tossed in a Tabasco sauce and maple syrup glaze and the French classic, celeriac remoulade.

Coincidentally we served this dish at a wedding we catered for this Summer in Byron Bay. Since the plates came back empty one must suppose that the guests liked this recipe very much. We used my standard lemon and cashew mayonnaise. It's wonderful that most people don't even notice that this isn't a traditional mayonnaise!

Being vegan there's not much traditional French food that I can eat or substitute with vegan options but Celeriac remoulade can be one of them. I substitute the traditional mayonnaise for the Cashew and Lemon mayonnaise.  It's simple, raw, good for you and works perfectly with this recipe. Celeriac is not so easy to find organic where I live near Byron Bay, Australia but here in France they have HUGE lovely organic specimens.

I decided to make this for lunch. I served it with whole baked potatoes and a big green salad with fennel, tomatoes and purple onion and I made a simple bright lemon and olive oil vinaigrette to go with the green salad. I kept the dressing for the green salad simple so that the celeriac remoulade & raw mayo would stand out. It was such a magnificent lunch! The remoulade and baked potatoes were such a great pair.  Of course here in France we ate our lunch with fluffy French bread. It's so addictive and delicious. I don't know how I'm going ween myself off this bread but usually I give myself the first month of indulging to get it out of my system. I start talking myself out of it about week 3 and slowly begin to buy the organic kamut or spelt breads at Moisson health food shop.

The traditional French recipe according to Larousse Gastronomique, rémoulade is 250 ml of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons mixed herbs (parsley, chives, chervil and tarragon), 1 tablespoon drained capers, 2 finely diced cornichons and a few drops of anchovy essence (optional). Some recipes use chopped anchovy fillets. The rémoulade used in céleri rémoulade is a simple mustard-flavoured mayonnaise spiced with garlic and pepper. Rémoulade is classified in French cooking as a derivative of the mayonnaise sauce.

I like the simple recipe I've made below with a few chopped walnuts scattered on the top and a small amount of fresh herbs of your choice.

The simple salad
Celeriac, finely grated
1-2 granny smith apples, finely grated *optional
1x lemon, juiced
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Cashew and lemon mayonnaise = Makes 500ml (maybe a little more than you need)
1 cup cashews
1x (100ml) lemon, juice (or lime)
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tsp good salt
50mls olive oil
filtered water, enough to cover the cashews

Soak the cashews in the filtered water in the blender for approximately 10 minutes. Then add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Grate the celeriac, not too finely, I use the julienne blade on my food processor and the large grate of a hand grater. Splash a little lemon juice over the grated celeriac  to prevent from discolouring. Pour the mayonnaise over the grated celeriac, toss and mix thoroughly. Garnish with chopped walnuts or some shredded parsley or mint.


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