Whole Roasted Celery Root from NOPI

Okay.  This almost doesn't qualify as a recipe.

But I'll admit, I have never made celeriac this way.

Yes, it took Yotam Ottolenghi to convince me to do something simple. And perfect.

I am not going to mess around here. I love celery root. I have sung its praises here, here, and here.

It is not a pretty little root vegetable, but if you can get beyond its humble, knobby exterior, it smacks of the bright, freshness that one expects from celery (which is, really, just the stalk of the plant) and the nutty, earthiness of something that comes from beneath the ground.

This straightforward recipe comes from Ottolenghi's latest cookbook, NOPI, a collection of restaurant-approved recipes from London's powerhouse foodie and his partner and NOPI Head Chef Ramael Scully.

Yes, it's true, I am a bit of a fan-girl when it comes to Ottolenghi, and next time I am in London (whew, it has been a long time since I was last there), you better believe I plan to pop by one of his eateries or make reservations at one of his restaurants.  NOPI just might be at the top of the list. (Forbes even argues that NOPI is London't best restaurant. That's a lot of aplomb.)

I would argue that the cookbook offers a parade of wonderful recipes that maybe aren't as simple as this roasted vegetable, but promise a splendid spread. From the Burrata with Bood Orange, Coriander Seeds and Lavender Oil to the Smoked Lamb Chips with Eggplant Puree, Jalapeno Sauce, and Kohlrobi Pickle, from the Baked Blue Cheesecake with Pickled Beets and Honey to the Coriander and Ginger Martini, I cannot wait to dive deeply into this book.

But can I admit something to you, here?  It's just a secret between you and me. This isn't my cookbook. It's the husband's. I bought it for him for his birthday this year.

We both know I really bought it for myself.

To round out my enthusiasm not only for the cookbook but for the husband's birthday, I took the husband to see Ottolenghi and David Lebovitz (whom you all know I also adore) in conversation at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco last month as part of his birthday celebrations. 

While the husband had to show up a little late due to terrible parking (and a late departure from dinner at Frances, where we had to order dessert even though we didn't have time), the conversation was delightful. Granted the husband and I didn't get to sit together. (He was a 10-minute late arrival, while I scuttled out of the idling car at the stop light.) Afterwards we walked back to the car (which was many blocks away), laughing and delighting in these two chefs who were able to be light and serious, delightful and driven.

Oh, people, I cannot wait to get cooking. Simple or complicated, these recipes are going to be downright fabulous.


Whole Roasted Celery Root

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully's NOPI

Serves 6

1 large celery root (celeriac) (about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed, hairy roots discarded, rinsed clean
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
2 tsp coarse salt, plus extra to serve
Chopped flat-leaf parsley

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Place the celery root on a small parchment-lined baking sheet. Rub it all over with olive oil and salt, and roast for 3 hours, until a knife inserted into the flesh goes in very easily. 

3.  Slice into 12 wedges and serve with a final pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of parsley.


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