Pity the poor, neglected celery root, also known as celeriac. Although closely related to plain old celery, that staple of lunchboxes and dieters alike, the gnarly round root is mostly overlooked in this country, unlike in Italy and France, where it’s turned into soups, purées, and that mayo-laden bistro staple celeri rémoulade. Otto Enoteca Pizzeria chef Zach Allen puts the odd knob to excellent seasonal use in this lively winter salad.
Otto’s Celery Root and Citrus Salad
1 Meyer lemon
2 blood oranges
1 Ruby Red grapefruit
1 pound (about 2 medium) celery roots
1/4 cup tender inner celery leaves
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
Salt and pepper
4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved with vegetable peeler
(1) Peel and segment the citrus, squeezing and reserving the juice from whatever flesh remains on the membranes. Scrub roots, skin them with a sharp knife, and immerse them in a bowl of cold water and the reserved juice to prevent discoloration.
(2) Slice root into matchsticks using a mandoline.
(3) Toss slices with citrus segments, celery leaves, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add half the cheese. Divide salad onto four plates and garnish with remaining cheese.