Three root vegetables are combined here to make a simple dish. The earthy flavor of celery root goes well with the sweetness of leeks. If you don’t have celery root, try a sliced fennel bulb in its place. The horseradish remains quietly pungent, but its heat disappears when it is cooked. I like this dish well enough to make a meal of it, accompanied by rye bread, radishes, pickled onions and some aged cheese. It is excellent with roast duck or game birds, as well as with roast chicken and beef. This recipe is excerpted from The Onion Book (Interweave, 1996) by Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger. SERBES 4 TO 6
• 2 pounds leeks
• 1 pound celery root
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 11⁄2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 cup stale bread, cut into 1⁄4-inch dice
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1⁄2 cup whipping cream
• 2 to 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish or 11⁄2 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
1. Clean and trim leeks; cut them in half lengthwise. Rinse well and pat them dry. Slice them crosswise 1⁄4-inch thick.
2. Peel celery root, cut it into eighths lengthwise, and slice the wedges crosswise 1⁄4-inch thick.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 11⁄2- to 2-quart gratin dish.
4. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add celery root. Cook and stir for about 4 minutes. Add leeks and cook and stir for about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the sautéed vegetables to the gratin dish.
5. Add remaining oil to the hot sauté pan, along with bread and garlic. Add salt and pepper and toss over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. Stir cream and horseradish together and drizzle over the sautéed vegetables. Sprinkle the bread on top. Bake for 25 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve hot.
Susan Belsinger is a long-time herbal enthusiast who wrote Dill, Herb of the Year 2010 for the International Herb Association.
To read more, see the International Herb Association’s book, Horseradish, Herb of the Year 2011, edited by Susan Belsinger. To purchase, visit www.iherb.orgor write to Marge Powell at the International Herb Association, P.O. Box 5667, Jacksonville, FL 32247-5667.
Click here the main article, 2011 Herb of the Year: Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana).