a chip, a root and a little bacon … Happy New Year from Paris
France often utilizes western ideas with French sensibilities of moderation. Take potato chips for example. For the last few months in France, la tendence (the “in” thing) is the use potato chips as a garnish or minor embellishment rather than a snack food (or meal, as the case may be). This idea of embracing a favorite American snack food with moderation inspired this week’s simple pleasure: celery root purée with crumbled bacon and potato chips.
Celeriac or “celery root” is a root vegetable used often in France, but with less frequency in the States. It is round and brown and
knobby looking with a tuft of stalks shooting out of its top. It would not win any beauty contests, but then again beauty is in
the eye of the beholder. I think it is lovely. It is also delicious.
Celeriac is related to the celery family and tastes like a combination of celery and parsley. White and crisp with a grassy-freshness, it pairs well with cream, oils, and fats (and because it only has 66 calories per cup, you do not feel too bad about the combination). Celeriac can be enjoyed hot or cold, raw or cooked. It is often julienned and mixed with mayonnaise for a celeriac remoulade or thinly sliced and added to a salad or served with thinly sliced charcuterie. It is delicious in one-pot dishes (stews and soups) and goes well with chicken.
For New Year’s Eve celebrations, it is nice to have a simple starter or appetizer that goes well with champagne. This week’s simple pleasure is just that. We are puréeing light, fresh celery root and topping it off with crumbled potato chips and bacon, both of which add a salty contrast to the light purée with just the right amount of fat. Think the comfort and texture mashed potatoes but light and with a limited amount of fat.
Pairing American favorites with a French-sense of moderation without giving up anything. Sounds like a great way to ring in the new year.
bonne année, bonne santé
et bon appétit !