We all know not to bring up politics or religion at the dinner table. But I had no idea how polarizing vegetables can be. Meat, yes. Milk, too, especially if you’re with a vegetarian or vegan. But vegetables?
I’ve certainly had discussions with folks that raised – shall we say — uncomfortable issues involving produce, such as the environmental costs of shipping a kiwi half-way around the world. But I’m not talking “eat local” here, or even “organic vs. conventional.”
I’m just talking celery root. A friend (and you know who you are!) confided that she even stopped reading my blog for awhile. She just couldn’t make it past my recent story on celery root. That’s a stronger reaction than I would’ve predicted for an ugly but mild-mannered root vegetable.
Which is why I was delighted to go to a friend’s house last week and find an Apple-and-Celery-Root Salad on the table. I wish I had a picture to show you how lovely this hairy vegetable can be when well prepared, but I don’t. While a food blogger can certainly take surreptitious pictures of dishes served at restaurants, it’s not exactly polite to pull out the iPhone while your friend pours the drinks! All I can say is that the salad looked better than many I’ve had off a menu, a tower of thick granny smith discs, green skin on for color, layered with pale celery root matchsticks.
Despite all the jokes about celery root (we even had a few at dinner that night), the vegetable is very gentle in flavor. What really made this dish was the dressing. With a drizzle of buttermilk, blue cheese and chives, the salad becomes an ode to that lovable pairing of apples and blue cheese, with celery root thrown in for good measure.