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Celery Root and Carrot Salad with Creamy Dressing

This crisp, refreshing salad is best made a day ahead so that the flavors have a chance to develop fully. Celery root is a rather ungainly vegetable with a rough exterior that must be peeled away with a sharp knife. The flavor is similar to that of stalk celery. This recipe is an adaptation of the classic French salad, céleri-rave rémoulade.

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup pure olive oil, or 2 Tbs. pure olive oil and 6 Tbs. extra-virgin
      olive oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. tarragon vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 large celery root, about 1 1/2 lb.
  • 1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrot
  • 6 large butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed and well drained
  • Fresh tarragon sprigs (optional)

Directions:

To make the dressing, in a large nonaluminum bowl, combine the olive oil, cream, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk until blended.

Using a sharp knife, peel away the tough skin from the celery root. Using a mandoline or the knife, cut into thin julienne strips about 3 inches long. Immediately add to the dressing and turn to coat well. Work quickly, as the flesh begins to discolor as soon as it is exposed to the air. Add the shredded carrot and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for as long as overnight before serving. (If the salad becomes very cold, let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.)

To serve, arrange a lettuce leaf on each individual plate. Divide the celery root mixture evenly among the leaves. Sprinkle each salad with a few capers. Garnish with tarragon sprigs, if using. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Holiday Celebrations, by Marie Simmons (Time-Life Books, 1998).