The recipe that is a metaphor for anyone who's ever felt like an outsider
Roasted Celeriac with Miso Glaze
Celeriac really speaks to me as a vegetable as it is rarely used in home cooking. In fact, it isn’t often used in most restaurants. My philosophy behind the use of this vegetable is taking something under appreciated, and finding ways to showcase its natural elegance. In a certain sense, it's a metaphor for my own story - I have felt outcast by my peers and sometimes my own family. I have no regrets or sadness, as these experiences have shaped me into the man I am today. With this in mind, I hope to show that anything can be transformed, whether it's an ingredient - or yourself.
This recipe is a perfect representation of who I am as a person. As some of you may know, I was trained classically in French and Japanese cooking by Chef Darren MacLean, Chef and Owner of Shokunin is Calgary, Alberta. Being trained by him, I developed a love for Asian fare, and miso quickly became one of my favourite ingredients. Miso is all about UMAMI - that round and salty flavour often found in cooked meats and broths.
Celeriac is the root of a celery stalk; the part that we don’t see. It looks like a giant piece of fungus. However, despite its humble origins, it is one of the most elegant, delicious and versatile vegetables I’ve ever come across.
This is a perfect side dish for accompanying meals of all kinds. And - yes, It is 100% vegetarian. The recipe is as follows:
Preheat oven to 350*C
1.5 lbs 1” diced peeled celeriac root
If you wish to have a slightly more bitter taste, leave the skin on, just wash well and trim off the “rooty” parts.
2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp Canola Oil
Toss peeled and diced Celeriac in salt and oil till evenly coated.
Place in Oven, stirring semi often to ensure even roasting. Be careful not to mash the celeriac.
Pull out when soft. (you can check this with a toothpick the same as you would with a potato)
Put on the side but leave in pan
2 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp grated garlic
4 Tbsp miso
1 Cup mirin (Japanese cooking Wine)
1 Cup sake (cooking sake)
2 Tbsp sugar (or as needed)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
In medium sauce pot, lightly cook ginger and garlic on medium heat till fragrant
Add Mirin, sake, and sugar and stir until dissolved.
Simmer until the sauce is reduced by 1/3
Add the miso and whisk into the sauce
Add the butter last minute and stir until combined
Pour over celeriac and place back in oven
Lightly baste every 5 minutes for 20 minutes.
If it gets too reduced, add a little bit of mirin, sake and water to thin.
Feel free to remove the butter from the recipe if you wish to make this vegan. I do not recommend trying to substitute with margarine.
This is best served with an equally elegant but heavy meat such as duck, or beef, however chicken and turkey will be equally delicious.
A fragrant, and Asian inspired dish of this nature needs something equally aromatic. Let's think about the key flavours of the dish for a minute - the celeriac with earthy, and "woody" character, paired with the umami of miso, with the creaminess of butter. There's a lot going on here - for this reason, it needs a wine that'll lend a certain complexity, offer ample acidity and have a creamy mouthfeel.
For this reason, I'm led to one of my most favourite styles of wine - ever - Muscadet Sèvre et Maine. This is a region and style of wine hailing from the Loire region in France, where the wine is aged on the dead yeast cells, known as "lees" that give the wine the most orgasmic creaminess on the palate. The wine is made with a variety known as Melon de Bourgogne - it offers a zippy, bright and slightly briney vibe, but on the finish - due to extended aging on the lees - the silkiest mouthfeel.
To stick with our "outsider" theme of today's post, this leaves me to recommended none other than a 40 ounce of Muscadet Sevre et Maine.
Check them out here: http://fortyouncewines.com/