As regular readers will know, celery root (also known as celeriac) is a delicious starchy root vegetable of a type of celery grown for its roots instead of its stems or leaves, and they will also know that it cooks very much like a potato and can be used in all kinds of potato-centered recipes. The major difference that one can expect between using potato and celeriac, so long as the celery root is thoroughly cooked, is a surprising difference in flavor, almost as if the best parts of the taste of celery and parsley are already in the starchy vegetable.
Regular readers will also know that hash browns can be made perfectly with just a little know-how, and it turns out that adding some grated celery root to your grated potato makes an easy and very delicious hash brown recipe with a gourmet touch that people might have a hard time nailing down. The tips in the hash brown article (see link, just above) make perfect hash browns without the headache of having to par boil the vegetables first, which has to be done just right or the outcome won't be so good. The key tips are to squeeze the excess moisture from the potatoes once they've been grated and to be sure not to create too thick a patty in the pan (or the center won't cook completely). These perfect-hash-browns tips apply just as well if a little celery root is in the mix and regardless of what kind of potato you choose to use, including sweet potatoes.
Give this recipe a try next time you have (or get) a celery root, and you won't be disappointed! The outcome is like you've somehow managed to season your hash browns from the inside out with celery and fresh parsley, so if you cook them in butter, they come out with a very herb-compound-butter kind of flavor, though you don't have to be nervous about burning the herbs and celery in the process as you normally would if you just added some chopped parsley and celery stalks to the grated potatoes.
Recipe: Celery root and yukon gold hash browns - Ingredients:
- 1 medium-sized celery root, peeled and placed in lightly acidulated water until ready to use, then grated;
- 1 similar sized Yukon gold potato, peeled and grated;
- 1-2 tablespoons butter, to taste;
- Salt, garlic powder, and freshly ground black pepper; to taste.
- Grate the potato first and then the celery root. Note: celery root is more firm than potato, so grating it takes a little more effort. Try to mix them somewhat evenly after grating, and then squeeze out the excess liquid in the grated vegetables over the sink or a compost bowl. Squeeze hard with each handful.
- After each handful is squeezed out, place the drier grated vegetable mixture on a separate plate and continue squeezing until all of the grated mixture is thoroughly squeezed. Lightly toss the grated mixture together, trying to fluff it up and to more evenly combine the two vegetables. Add some freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder to this mix while tossing to combine to season the inside of your hash browns.
- When it is thoroughly mixed, heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat with the butter in it. Make sure the butter covers the entire cooking surface. Note: The pan must be large enough so that the total thickness of the hash browns in the pan does not exceed 1/2 inch, and a little thinner than that is better -- otherwise the center won't finish cooking before the outsides burn, so make two batches if necessary!
- When the pan is quite hot and the butter is sizzling but hasn't yet browned, add the potato and celery root mixture to the pan and form a patty not thicker than 1/2 inch. Lightly pepper (but do not salt) the upper surface and feel free to add a dusting of smoked paprika, if desired. Let cook until the bottom is starting to brown, approximately 3-5 minutes (check by lifting an edge with the spatula).
- Just when the patty is ready for flipping, salt the upper surface. Then cut the patty into pieces if it is large, using the edge of the spatula to do so, and flip each piece as well as possible. It doesn't have to be perfect. Lightly salt the browned upper surface as well.
- Let the second side cook for 3-4 minutes, until browned, and serve hot, especially if topped with a fried egg or two and garnished with freshly chopped parsley.
Buy it locally! If you've never seen it in Knoxville, celeriac/celery root is often available at the Knoxville-area Kroger stores as well as the Knoxville-area The Fresh Market stores, though it's quite expensive there. It's more affordable and more reliably available at both Knoxville locations of Earth Fare in the produce section. Look near the other "exotic" roots for a knobbly, sandy brown bulb-shaped root to find it.
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