Tag Archives: Celeriac

Day 13: Chowder (Sort of)

20 Jan

Sorry for the 2-day hiatus, folks! I spent the last 48 hours on Theraflu and broth but am now fine and dandy and will pick up where I left off. And yes, I pretended they had Theraflu in 1940s Britain.

I had some leftover salt cod from this and figured a soup might be in order since it’s still pretty cold outside here in New York. Soup always feels comforting. Is it a clam chowder? No, not really, on account of having no clams. But thanks to some supersmoky bacon, salt cod and a healthy dose of celeriac, turnip, potatoes and onions, it sort of tastes like one.

Chowder (Sort of)

INGREDIENTS
1 potato
Cream
Milk
1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat
1 strip bacon, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup small diced onions
1/4 cup small diced carrots
1/8 cup small diced celeriac
1/8 cup small diced turnip
Vegetable stock
Salt cod, soaked in several changes of water for 24 hours, then poached in water
Salt and freshly ground pepper

METHOD
Cut the potato in half. Small dice one half of the potato and set aside. Simmer the other half of the potato in water until tender. Then purée with about a 50/50 mixture of cream to milk, until you form a loose potato purée. Set aside and keep warm. Warm the bacon fat (I keep this anytime I make bacon). Render the bacon strips in the fat and then add the onions and carrots. Next add the celeriac, turnip and potato to the pot and add enough enough vegetable stock to cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Add to the cream-potato mixture slowly, stirring all the while. Finally, flake the salt cod into the soup and stir. Heat until warmed through and then check the seasoning. In all likelihood you won’t need to add much salt if any, since salt cod remains rather salty even after soaking and cooking. Good with a crusty piece of bread.

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Day 10: Potato-Celeriac Brandade de Morue with Brussels Sprouts

15 Jan

Fishing being what it is, cod has gone in my Granny’s lifetime from being so cheap that you feed it to the cat, to being one of the most expensive fish you can find in the UK. If you haven’t read sustainability superhero Barton Seaver’s For Cod and Country, it’s a fabulous peek into the world of sustainable seafood with a great guide into buying sustainable fish year round. And it touches a bit on  what’s made our fish the way it is today.

However, I digress. Salt cod is one of those Mediterranean staples – whether you call it bacallao (Portuguese) or baccala (Italian), or if you mash it into potatoes for a brandade de morue (French) – that has the lovely advantage of aging well. Unlike fresh fish, it won’t go bad inside of days, and once it’s been thoroughly soaked in several changes of fresh water, it tastes only mildly saltier than its fresh counterpart. It also tastes very fresh, since it’s usually packed in salt quite soon after being caught, butchered and portioned.

Brandade de Morue is one of my all-time faves. It began its life as a peasant dish and still does pretty well with a slice of crusty bread, slathered with butter or aioli.

This is what soaked salt cod looks like. Be careful when you season the rest of the dish – go easy on the salt, since the fish will still remain quite salty even after a thorough soaking.

Celeriac, or what you Yanks call “celery root,” makes an earthy addition to mashed potatoes.

Potato-Celeriac Brandade de Morue: Mustard-whipped Potatoes and Celeriac, Salt Cod, and Brussels Sprouts

2 Servings

INGREDIENTS
3 pieces salt cod
4 medium potatoes, peeled
1/3 celeriac, peeled
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups Brussels sprouts, separated into leaves (you can keep the middle bit)
Water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon mustard

METHOD
Soak the salt cod in several changes of water in the fridge, for about 12 hours. Put the potatoes and celeriac in a pot and cover them with water. Bring to the boil and simmer until they are cooked through. Strain the potatoes and celeriac and pass them through a potato ricer. Season with 1/2 of the milk, the butter, and salt and pepper. Return to the pot and keep warm.

Strain the salt cod and put in a small pot, covered with fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fish just starting to become flaky. Remove from the heat and allow the cod to cool a little in the cooking water. When the water is just luke warm, remove the fish from the water and allow to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Heat the remaining milk with the thyme and garlic in a small sauté pan until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and mash with the cod in a bowl. Keep the fish in small pieces – it’s a bit more interesting texturally that way.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the sprout leaves. Season with salt and pepper and wilt slightly. Add a little water or chicken stock. (If you are not on rations you can cook them in chicken stock and butter). Cook just until the sprout leaves are cooked through. Remove from the heat.

Add the mustard to the potato mixture and mash it with the cod. Put in a lipped bowl and top with the sprout leaves. If you have some good olive oil, go ahead and drizzle it over the dish. Wish I could. Sigh.

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