I've never cooked with celeriac (aka celery root) nor rutabagas, so this post can easily qualify as a "branching out" recipe. I haven't done one of those in a long time! I had a Groupon for Whole Foods, so decided to use it on fresh sea scallops, a treat in our house. Um, and $100 worth of produce and other goodies... but let's not split hairs. That's how they get ya!
Celeriac is an ugly, bulbous-looking root of a kind of celery plant. The greens that grow off it may look like celery, but they do not taste as good. I saved mine for chicken stock. Rutabaga is in the turnip family and also not very attractive, but fear not! Both are unoffensive yet have distinct flavors that are perfect for wintery soups, vegetable roasts, and purees. For an easy yet ridiculously fancy-shmance-sounding dinner to impress the in-laws, give this a whirl!
Seared Scallops over Celeriac and Rutabaga Puree
from The Kitchn
For the puree:
1 celery root (~3/4 lb)
1 rutabaga (~3/4 lb)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups chicken stock/good broth
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the scallops:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil (or other oil with high smoke point)
1 lb sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
I* peeled the celeriac with a technique similar to pineapple. First I took a slice off the bottom so that it would sit nicely on the cutting board. Then, with a knife, I sliced vertical strips off the sides and finally the top. A peeler doesn't work on these suckers. The rutabaga is easier to peel and a vegetable peeler works just fine.
Dice the celeriac and rutabaga into ~1/2" cubes. Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a deep pot; add the garlic, celeriac, and rutabaga and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock/broth, salt and pepper (watch the salt if you're using store-bought broth), bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and puree either with an immersion blender (sigh, I wish) or by transferring in batches to a blender. Return to the pot and add sour cream and nutmeg (I also added some cayenne pepper). Season to taste and keep warm until ready to eat.
Heat butter and oil in a non-teflon pan over medium-high heat. Season the dry scallops with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering but not smoking (too hot!), add the scallops and sear for about 1 1/2 minutes on either side.
Serve the scallops over the puree with a light salad on the side.
*By "I," I mean Don. I make him do the hard knife work.