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New dishes and old traditions

We have a family tradition of making a new dish every holiday. Yes, of course, we keep the old – there’s no way this gal’s going to ix-nay the ornbread-cay essing-dray of my childhood. OK, so yes, uh-huh, I made the green bean casserole this year BUT I made it from scratch so that counts for something in moving toward a healthier holiday table. Right? I mean h0memade down to the fried onion rings (yes, I said fried but they’re fried in the Durkee can, right?).

At a dinner party last weekend, our mouths were smacking away on a kind of slaw made with celeriac instead of cabbage. As we say in the South, “Honey, hush!” It was to-die-for good. Fresh. Sassy. Saucy. The recipe is below courtesy of Julia Child. If it’s not this one, then hunt around on the Internet for a recipe that lives within your comfort zone and git to gettin’ on a December holiday dinner menu.

Celery Remoulade

by Julia Child

Ingredients

  • One 1-pound celery root (3 to 3-1/2 inches in diameter)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive or mild vegetable oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1 bunch of watercress, stemmed

Preparation

  1. To prevent the celery root from discoloring, work quickly. Peel the brown outside off the celery root with a short, stout knife, and cut the celery root into 1-inch chunks. Shred in a food processor fitted with a fine shredding disk or in a hand-cranked julienne mill. At once, toss the shredded root in a large bowl with the salt and lemon juice – lemon helps prevent discoloration, and lemon and salt together have a mildly tenderizing effect. (If you are doubling or tripling the recipe, shred and season the root in batches.) Let it steep for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, place a large bowl over a pan of simmering water to warm. Set the warm bowl on your work surface, add the mustard, and by dribbles whisk in the boiling water, then the oil; finally, dribble and whisk in the vinegar to make a thick, creamy sauce.
  3. To assemble, rinse the celery root in cold water, drain and dry it. Fold it into the dressing and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. If desired, fold in the parsley and enough sour cream to lightly coat the strips. Serve the celery root on a serving plate atop a bed of watercress.

Note: The celery root is ready to serve now, but will be more tender if it steeps, covered, for several hours in the refrigerator – where it will keep nicely for several days.

 

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