Recipe of the week: Potato and Celeriac Gratin
American cooks tend to avoid celery root, but in the Old World it's considered an aphrodisiac and a winter staple.
One look at raw celeriac “could kill appetites,” said Wendy Donahue in the Chicago Tribune. The ungainly appearance of this tuber probably explains why American cooks typically avoid it “despite its long tradition in the Old World as both an aphrodisiac and a winter staple.” In its flavor, celeriac—or celery root—actually tastes as if it’s “a cousin to anise, carrots, parsley, and parsnips.”
Potato and Celeriac GratinAdapted from Béatrice Peltre (latartinegourmande.com)
1½ cups each whole milk, whipping cream3 cloves garlic—2 crushed, 1 whole3 sprigs thyme1½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced1¼ lbs celeriac, peeled, thinly sliced¾ tsp salt½ tsp pepperbutter1 tbsp finely chopped parsley1/8 tsp nutmeg
Heat milk and cream just to boil in saucepan over medium heat. Add crushed garlic and thyme. Remove from heat. Cover. Let infuse 30 minutes. Strain.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place potatoes and celeriac on two different plates; season with salt and pepper. Rub inside of large gratin or baking dish with garlic clove; grease dish liberally with butter. Arrange vegetables in alternating layers, starting and ending with potatoes. Add chopped parsley to milk mixture; pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Bake until vegetables are tender and most liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Serves eight.