Celeriac. Also known says Wiki, as knob celery (!) Someone very knowledgeable, someone whom I would call if I ever found myself in a bit of bother, informed me on Friday night that I need not cite Wiki. Apparently it has been successfully argued in universities in the United States that Wiki is "common knowledge" and therefore does not need to be referenced. So henceforth, I shall pretend that I'm far more clever than I really am. There are a number of celeriac cultivars available, especially in Europe. Among them are 'Prinz', 'Diamant', 'Ibis', and 'Kojak', which all received Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit designation in the trial in 2000.
I simmered two cups of puy lentils for about 20 minutes until they were soft but not falling apart. Meanwhile, I prepared the celeriac by discarding the top (which in retrospect would have been quite nice finely chopped and added to the salad), and 'peeling' it with a knife. Then I diced it into one-centimetre cubes and sauteed them for 15ish minutes in olive oil, crushed garlic and the obligatory salt and pepper. I mixed the drained lentils and crispy celeriac cubes together in a large bowl and added about half a generous cup of roughly chopped roasted walnuts. I threw in some leftover beetroot for good measure, the juice of two and a half lemons, about a tablespoon of sumac, and some glugs of olive oil. I covered the bowl with a plate to keep the concoction warm whilst I cooked 250 grams of seasoned and sumaced haloumi over a hot griddle. The haloumi went atop the warm lentil and celeriac salad (to which I had added a cup of chopped italian parsley) and was garnished with lemon wedges and another glug of olive oil. Lovely soaked up with some steaming seeded bread. Looking back I could have played it differently and the ratio of lentils to celeriac should have been more even. It seems that celeriac, whilst smelling like celery when raw, takes on a sweet mellow flavour when cooked which was almost lost amongst the earthy, lemony lentils and the beetroot. Almost, but not quite. Close, but no cigar.
|Sumac haloumi with warm lentil and celeriac salad|