I normally like my salads with a simple oil and vinegar dressing in the typical Italian manner, but once and a while I get the urge for one of those rich and creamy salads like cole slaw or Russian salad … or this French classic: céléri rémoulade, shredded celery root dressed with a mustardy mayonnaise. With the help of a food processor, the dish is quite simple to make—even simpler, actually, than cole slaw.
- 1 celery root
- 250g (1 cup) mayonnaise, preferably homemade
- 1-2 Tbs Dijon mustard
- Wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
First, you peel the celery root with a knife (the skin is too tough and irregular for a peeler), cut it into chunks, and then shred a celery root in a processor.
Immediately fold in a good cup of mayonnaise, enough to dress the celery root well—along with a generous dollop of Dijon mustard, a splash of vinegar (or some freshly squeezed lemon juice), salt and pepper. If you like, you can some chopped parsley for extra flavor and color.
Refrigerate for a good hour or more before serving.
To this basic rémoulade dressing, you can add some extra flavorings if you like, such as capers or chopped cornichons or some other herbs like tarragon, chives and/or chervil. The Larousse Gastronomique suggests finishing the sauce with a bit of ‘anchovy essence’—whatever that is (anchovy paste?). Some recipes call for adding the yolk of a hard boiled egg to a raw egg yolk to make the mayonnaise, assuming you are making it by hand. As an unorthodox variation, you can lower the caloric content a bit by folding in some sour cream in lieu of some of the mayo, in which case best to go light on the vinegar or lemon juice.
Sauce rémoulade is quite versatile. It is lovely served with all sorts of cooked vegetables, as an accompaniment to poached or roasted fish or even with a nicely grilled steak.