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Celeriac In Olive Oil With Quince and Orange

Apr 10, 2010

Celeriac In Olive Oil

I don't know how much you are familiar with vegetables and legumes cooked with extra-virgin olive oil and served lukewarm or cold. This is typical Mediterranean style cooking and very common in Turkey as well, especially in the coast. Veggies cooked this way are not only healthy but practical too, as when cooked with olive oil, they preserve their freshness in the fridge for couple of days. So when I get my hands dirty in the kitchen I make sure to cook two or three kinds so we have something to eat for the next couple of days. String beans, pinto beans, artichokes, eggplants and zucchinis are typical for summer whereas spinach, leek, carrots, jerusalem artichokes and fava beans are regular visitors of my kitchen in winter. And of course my favorite, celeriac. Although supposed to be long gone, winter is still dragging its feet here in Istanbul, so I wanted to cook celeriac for one last time as a farewell to winter, at least for the current year.

Celeriac is probably one of the least popular vegetables, next to okra. Ok may be not that unpopular; nothing can beat okra. So when you are not sure if your guests like it or not, it is a little risky to serve when one thirds of the people I know don't like it; a big mistake if you ask me. And this is the recipe to change their minds because in no other recipe that I know of, does it taste better. If you already are a celeriac fan and looking for a change, this is also the way to go. Cooking it with the juice of orange instead of just water is like magic.

Celeriac With Quince and Orange Juice

Ingredients:

  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 onion (peeled, coarsely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 small quince
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • granulated sugar
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Combine in a bowl the juice of lemon and a liter of water. Cut the celeriac into 8 pieces lengthwise, peel and remove the soft core. Let the slices rest in lemon juice so their color won't fade.
  2. Cut the quince into 2 mm. thick slices, unpeeled, and combine with celeriac inside the bowl.
  3. Stir in the chopped onion with olive oil in a casserole over medium heat. Add sliced carrot then quince slices, toss.
  4. Add orange juice, 1/3 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar. Do not add sugar if orange is very sweet.
  5. Bring the celeriac to a boil, cover and reduce heat to minimum. Do not uncover, shake the pot occasionally to allow mixing. In 30 minutes, check celeriac with a fork, opening the cover ajar. Remove from heat if fork pierces easily. Let cool down, covered. Serve with fresh basil leaves.
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