When you stop and think about it, most of the textures on a Thanksgiving plate are warm, soft and comforting. Stuffing. Mashed Potatoes. Pillowy dinner rolls. You don’t even really need a knife to eat sliced turkey, do you? But those textures can can get a bit boring. I think every holiday plate should have some crunch. So while I’m practicing Thanksgiving this week I thought I’d include something crunchy. This “slaw” is a sort of celery root remoulade, and it’s both crunchy and creamy. Well it is Thanksgiving after all, even the crunch has to have some cush.
I’m calling this a celery root remoulade, partly because I like the way it sounds. But really it’s nothing at all like something Julia Child would have called remoulade. Except of course for the fact that it’s made with celery root. According to Thomas Keller a classic celery root remoulade is a traditional French winter dish often served as part of an hors d’oeuvre plate at a casual bistro (like Bouchon). However, I also like to serve it as a creamy side salad at all sorts of cool weather celebrations– including Thanksgiving.
Celery Root Remoulade
I guess my version might best be called a California celery root remoulade. The texture is lighter and the flavors a bit fresher. I make it without Keller’s mayonnaise or Child’s mustard. Though I still use crème fraîche when it’s a special occasion, but it can be further “California-ized” with yogurt if you prefer. Black currents and walnuts take the place of cornichons and capers. They sweeten the mix slightly, which works well with the other flavors typically found on a Thanksgiving plate. However you could use capers and a pile of fresh herbs if you are a traditionalist like Ms. Child or Mr. Keller.
Oh, in case you really are a traditionalist I should mention that celery root is also known as celeriac. It’s literally the root of celery. It’s a bulbous, unusual looking vegetable that has a woodsy flavor similar to above ground celery. Did I mention it makes a nice crunchy Thanksgiving side dish? GREG