Winter vegetables make for interesting dishes. Consider parsley root and celery root--roots that store well during the winter and pack great flavor. Refrigerate each in plastic bags up to about 10 days. Paired with potatoes, as they are in these recipes, the results are quite delicious and soothing.
Parsley root is a beige parsnip look-alike except for its feathery green parsley leaves. To me, it tastes like parsley; to others, a carrot-celery mixture. Relatively unknown in this country, it’s commonly used in Europe in soups and stews or as a vegetable. It is available in many supermarkets, but occasionally you have to request it. Choose firm roots with bright green leaves. Remove the leaves just before using and peel the root as you would a carrot. Use the leaves just like parsley.
Celery root--also called celeriac--is cultivated for its craggy, bulbous root with an intense celery taste. Although the roots range in size from an apple to a small cantaloupe, choose roots that are more to the apple size, firm and solid, without decay or soft spots and with a minimum of rootlets and knobs. The leaves remaining on the roots are inedible. Celery root can be eaten raw in salads, although in these recipes it is cooked. To peel, use a sharp paring knife but do not throw the peels in the disposal--they can clog it, requiring a plumber’s visit.
Mandel is author of “Celebrating the Midwestern Table” (Doubleday & Co., 1996).