So there I am in music class with my 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. All of us — many mommies, one dad, and lots of hyped up preschoolers — are told to hand in our resonator bells because it’s time to dance. The teacher puts on “Monster Mash,” and as we get up to twirl our kiddos, I can’t help but crack up.
Not just because the kids are so darn cute at this age, but because I can’t stop laughing at my own inside joke — the one about the celery root-potato puree I’d made for dinner the night before. If only I would’ve called it Monster Mash, then maybe my little people would’ve been more interested!
If you haven’t seen celery root (also known as celeriac) before, you might not get the joke. Celery root does resemble a monster, all knobby and brown and hairy. I would’ve never thought to eat it, if someone before me hadn’t told me it was edible. And delicious. For it is delicious, both raw and cooked, and it pairs particularly well with potatoes. This is a good thing, because potatoes are still in season and we have boxes of them downstairs that are waiting to be made into more things than mashed potatoes, breakfast burritos and soup.
Potato and Celery Root Puree
Like so many of my recipes, this is ingredient-driven rather than recipe-driven. By that I mean simply this: use what you have. I opted for 1 1/2 pounds of celeriac and 1 pound of potatoes, but you can easily switch the proportions.
1 pound potatoes, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 pounds celery root, trimmed of all woody and brown parts, and cut into thin 1- or 2-inch strips
6-8 tablespoons butter
At least 1/4 cup warm milk, preferably whole
Salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes until tender. While they’re cooking, cook the celery root in three tablespoons butter (or part butter, part olive oil) over medium heat until soft. When done, puree in a food processor and set aside. Drain the potatoes when tender, then add three tablespoons butter and about 1/4 cup warm milk and whip with an electric mixer (you can also use a potato masher but the texture isn’t as light). Correct texture by adding more milk, if necessary. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and add the remaining two tablespoons butter, if desired. Mix in celery root puree and serve hot.