Wednesday 17 February 2010

More Root Vegetables, Please!

It's that time of year. I long for the farmers' markets. Our box of (mostly local) produce comes and I haul turnips, rutabagas, potatoes, storage apples, carrots and so on into the kitchen....and then stare at the abundance for a while.

One of my standbys is The Winter Vegetarian by Darra Goldstein, which, beyond having fantastic easily veganised recipes suitable for a northern climate, is a wonderful read full of food history and stories. It's a cuddle up in the bleak weather treat.

However, looking for new inspiration and building on my experience with the best salad ever a couple of years ago (a strawberry and onion chutney at an Indian restaurant), lately I've found that one of the most delightful ways to face root vegetables is east. A lot of south asian cuisine actually lends itself really well to root vegetables other than the usual potatoes and carrots. Try turnips simmered in a tomato based sauce with Indian spices and you'll see what I mean. This might be obvious for a lot of people, but it was such a welcome discovery for me that I'm kicking myself for not being more adventurous with my rutabagas sooner :-)

So, I introduce to you my very own grated celery root and apple salad with black mustard seed dressing:


1 smallish celery root, peeled and grated
4-5 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced
juice from half a lemon
1 or 2 green onions, chopped
about 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

Toast a couple of teaspoons of black mustard seeds in a couple of tablespoons of oil (I used canola) until they start popping (remove before they explode all over your kitchen!) and pour the warm dressing on top on the salad. Mix well and salt to taste.


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