One of the things we love about eating out at restaurants is the way they open our minds to ingredients and food combinations that we’d never previously considered/and/or heard of. Plus, the fancy presentation, which always makes things taste better. That’s why we love this recipe for salt baked celeriac taken from M: A 24 Hour Cookbook by Michael Reid (Absolute Press, £30). It’s one of the prettiest and most artfully arranged vegetables we’ve ever seen – it’s also garnished with edible flowers. And, we’ve always wondered what exactly you DO with celeriac. Here’s the answer:
1 large celeriac, about 800g
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
100g shimeji mushrooms or seasonal wild mushrooms, trimmed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salt crust
400g plain white flour
4 egg whites
50g fine table salt
For the horseradish cream
120g peeled fresh horseradish root
125ml whipping cream
Red-vein sorrel leaves
Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas Mark 3
To make the salt crust, whisk the flour, egg whites and salt together in a large non-metallic mixing bowl until evenly blended, light and fluffy.
Spread one third of this mixture in an even layer on a baking tray, about 15cm thick.
Set the tray and remaining salt crust mixture aside.
Peel the celeriac and then cut into 9 chunky wedges.
As each wedge is cut lay it in the salt crust.
When all the wedges have been cut, top them with the remaining salt mixture.
Bake for 2 hours, or until a skewer can be pushed through the crust and wedges without any resistance.
Remove the tray from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes before breaking the crust open.
Remove the wedges from the salt crust and leave to cool completely.
Thinly slice one of the wedges, then cover and chill the slices and wedges until 30 minutes before serving, so that they return to room temperature.
At least 25 minutes before you plan to serve, make the horseradish cream.
First juice the horseradish by combining the juice and pulp in a bowl and then pour over the cream.
Leave for the flavours to blend for exactly 20 minutes, then pass through a fine sieve.
Cover and chill until required.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat, then add three-quarters of the mushrooms and sauté for two minutes, until browned and tender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside
To serve, equally divide the horseradish cream among four plates and dot with the chive oil, then add two celeriac wedges to each plate.
Add the cooked and raw mushrooms, then garnish with the sliced celeriac, sorrel leaves and flowers, and serve.
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