Celeriac goes well with nuts; and it certainly needs additional fat – whether butter, cream, or cheese.

One solution is to simply roast the vegetable, mashing in butter as you go – go to The Only Way to Cook Celeriac Because You’re Worth It – for that.

But this method achieves the same in a slightly more creative and elegant way, by using crème fraîche instead of the butter. And as I had bought a job lot of long-life celeriac just prior to the Covid 19 lockdown, I wanted to experiment.

There is one drawback. This dish does require a specialist ingredient– the cashew butter. This is marvellous heady stuff though – once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked. Substitutes might be tahini or peanut butter, but both of these have very pronounced, sledge-hammer, flavours of their own.

And there is a second drawback – you need to allow at least a couple of hours to make this….most of that is simply roasting the celeriac – it will only take about ten minutes of your time. Because you peel the celeriac when it’s soft, post roasting, it takes just seconds to peel. 

It’s suitable for vegetarians.

 

Recipe for celeriac steaks with a cashew and caper sauce

Serves 4 as a starter, or as an accompaniment; or 2 with some sourdough and ham (if you are omnivore) for lunch

Ingredients

  • 1 x large celeriac
  • 500ml/2 cups crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsps cashew butter
  • 2 baby gherkins
  • 6 tbsps capers (not the type in brine… if you try the salted type make sure they are thoroughly rinsed)
  • small bunch flat leaved parsley
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper or a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes
  • smoked salt, but only if you are using non-salted capers
  • olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 210°C.
  2. Put the celeriac on an oiled roasting tin and cook for about 1½ hours – until a sharp knife will easily penetrate the flesh.
  3. Allow to cool, and then, using the same sharp knife, cut off the skin. Cut into steak slices, about 2cm/½” thick.
  4. Oil a ribbed griddle pan, and get it good and hot. Put the celeriac steaks onto the pan and cook for three or four minutes until the golden ribbed pattern can be seen. Turn, and cook to get the ribbed pattern on the other side.
  5. Meanwhile, make the sauce by mixing the crème fraîche, cashew butter, capers (keep a few back for garnish), lemon juice and zest, mustard and pepper… and salt if your capers weren’t salted. Snip in the parsley. Cut the gherkin quite thinly, and add that.
  6. Serve, together with the celeriac steaks.