Skillet Roasted Celeraic with Potatoes, Celery, Olives, and Sage

April 30th, 2008  |  Published in All, Honorable Herbs, Potatoes, Veritable Vegetables, Weeknight Recipes  |  6 Comments

Skillet Roasted Celeraic

Skillet Roasted Celeraic with Potatoes, Celery, Olives, and Sage

4 slices bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces *see note below
1.5 lbs of celery root and yukon gold potatoes (I used 1 celery root plus 2 potatoes)
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced into moons
5-6 kalamata olives (or other cured black olives), chopped
1 T. fresh sage, chopped
1-2 oz shredded manchego cheese (about 1/2 c) (any hard salty cheese will work)
1-2 oz shredded mozzarella or provolone
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a heavy well-seasoned cast-iron (or other non-stick skillet) over medium high heat. Add the bacon and saute until mostly crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from rendered fat and drain on a paper towel. Reserve rendered bacon fat in a small bowl or container.

Allow skillet to cool until it can be handled. Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, peel the celery root and thinly slice into rounds (1/16 inch thick). Scrub the potatoes and thinly slice into rounds the same thickness as the celery root.

Once the skillet is cool, brush the bottom and sides with some of the rendered bacon fat. Layer 1/4 of the celery root and potato slices into the pan, brush with some of the rendered bacon fat, and top with 1/3 of the fresh celery, 1/3 of the crumbled bacon, 1/3 of the olives, and 1/4 of the sage, manchego, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat for two more layers. Make one more layer of celery root and potato slices, brush with bacon fat, and top with remaining sage and cheeses. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tightly cover the skillet either with its lid or with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25-30 more minutes, until potatoes and celery root are tender and the edges are golden brown. Either slice into wedges directly in the pan, taking care not to scrape the pan, or transfer to a cutting board with two spatulas and cut there.


*Note: Try to find all-natural and ethically sourced
meat (i.e. at the Farmer’s Market, raise your own, etc) if you choose to consume it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Every now and again I’ll wake up and decide that today I need a mental health day. The feeling strikes at the oddest times — not when I’m particularly stressed out or busy at work, but rather when things are on the quiet side and contemplation seems like a plausible idea rather than a far off notion.

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago, this feeling struck for not one, but TWO days in a row… I could barely fathom writing C++ code for 8 hours straight in my dimly lit window-less office, even if it does have to do with rock and roll :) … No, all I wanted was to sit quietly at home doing my slightly more active version of meditation — cooking vegetables.

It’s not just the act of cooking for me, it’s also *what* I’m cooking — cooking vegetables puts me in a more relaxed state than, say, baking, cooking meat, or grilling. There’s something about handling vegetables, especially those that I buy locally at the farmer’s market where I am completely sure and comfortable about their origin that simply puts me at ease…

Anyhow, on this particular mental health day, I decided to cook up a feast for my solitary lunch — a cara-cara orange, skillet roasted celeraic, sauteed dandelion greens, a salad with homegrown lettuce, and yes, a lunchtime glass of red wine. I sat, nibbled, contemplated, listened to my surroundings, and let my thoughts wander where they might…

I developed the habit of long, solitary, contemplative lunches about five years ago while working on a project about field recording in Europe. I would find a little restaurant to sit at on a square or plaza, order some food, setup my equipment, and just listen and record. I would later sift through all of the recordings and create sonic sketches out of my recordings… these days I do less recording, and my long solitary lunches are more an act of relaxation and delving into the present moment rather than a creative effort; both are valid pursuits in my eyes.

But I digress.

The skillet roasted celeraic that was part of my lunchtime feast turned out wonderfully — crispy and golden on both the top and bottom, dotted with savory sage and salty olives, and topped with melty parmesan cheese — low fuss and super delicious. Making skillet roasted vegetables is quite similar to making a gratin, the main difference being that there is no liquid involved. If instead you wanted to make this into a gratin, simply pour cream or broth over the layered sliced celeraic and potatoes, then bake as directed. Perhaps on your next mental health day (or before!) you can give this a try.

Skillet Roasted Celeraic - Vertical

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