This is what happens when a young Turkish cook applies her culinary creativity to the traditional zeytinyağlı kereviz /celeriac meze and successfully gives it a modern twist. Traditionalists, beware!
Kereviz, kereviz/ celeriac, celeriac, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. And pumpkin. And more of the same. A winter market in the heart of Istanbul.
Monday morning in my area of Fenerbahçe means market day so routine being routine, off I went. I didn’t waste time: straight to ‘my’ stall, carefully avoiding what used to be ‘my’ stall. I thought everything was a bit pricey, I found eg little cucumbers at 5TL per kilo which is £2. That’s a lot to my mind. But I got them for 4TL. That’s what being a regular customer does for you. I like to think they give me a break sometimes!
Luckily I like vegetables including all the winter ones. The celeriac or kereviz looked attractive despite their odd shape: fresh, white and firm. I had this new recipe in mind so bought 2 big ones. They are obviously a popular vegetable as the vast pile was already on the wane and it was only 9.30. This recipe is from my young friend Refika Birgül’s book Cooking New Istanbul Style. The recipes sometimes leave a lot to be desired in terms of clarity but they make up for it in sheer joy and ebullience.
2 large celeriacs or 3 medium
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 orange* magic ingredient
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 dessert spoon brown sugar
Rocket leaves, washed and dried
Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp salt
6 tbsp olive oil
Coarse black pepper
A little grated nutmeg
1 tbsp pine nuts
· Pour the olive oil into a wide pan and gently heat. Put the chopped onion, garlic, carrot and pine nuts into the pan and gently saute till softened. Cut the celeriacs into thin rounds (3-4mm), add to the pan and saute a couple of minutes. Halve the orange and squeeze. Squeeze the lemon half. Pour the juice of both onto the celeriacs. Add sugar and salt.
|ingredients ready to go|
|the sliced kereviz|
· Pour 1 ½ cups boiling water over the contents of pan, cover, and cook gently for 15 mins. Let cool in pan.
Pile the rocket in the centre of your serving dish and arrange the slices of celeriac decoratively around it. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and a little nutmeg. Grind some coarse black pepper over the assembled dish and add a little olive oil to the rocket.
The celeriac can also be arranged on individual dishes if you prefer.
So what’s the verdict? I liked this recipe as it is an original take on the same old ingredients and the standard zeytinyağlı kereviz recipe. The addition of pine nuts was innovative, the parmesan cheese modern, and the orange juice, although not a new idea, added to the taste. The lemon juice helps to keep the celeriac from discolouring.
Give it a try and let me know.
By the way, you will see a new widget – I think that’s the correct term – right below this: you can now print off the recipe simply by clicking on it. This is thanks to Daughter No 2 who declared she was tired of lugging her laptop into the kitchen each time she needed a recipe.
And while I am at it, there is a second new widget that I hope will be helpful: on the right of the blog you will see Get Your Recipe Updates via Email and a place to put your email address. Do this, click OK, and the posts will automatically be sent to your email. You won’t have to go to the website every time.
Hope that helps! Enjoy!