It’s Complicated

I love complex flavors.  That’s why I am so drawn to southeast Asian foods-the sour salads of Thailand, the fragrant curries of India, the spicy soups of Vietnam…these are the layered, multi faceted flavors that I crave.  When other little kids were asking for meatloaf for their birthdays, I wanted Kimchi Jigae.  Go figure!  But…every now and then…I crave clean, uncomplicated food.  Just for a change in pace…or, more often, a little rest for my spice laden taste buds.  That’s when I whip up some Celeri Remoulade.
Celeri Remoulade (Yeah, I said it the French way…I’m sophista-ma-cated) is celery root in a tangy, mayonnaise based sauce.  Celery root is easily found in gourmet grocery stores, and often in regular grocery stores this time of year.  It is literally the root of the celery stalk, and has a sweet/savory flavor with celery and apple notes.  The texture is like a radish-crunchy but yielding, and porous enough that it absorbs the dressing quickly.

Cut your celery root in half, then cut away the peel with a sharp knife.  Then you cut the cleaned root into thin discs…

Pile the discs on top of on another and cut the discs into matchsticks.  You can also do this by cutting the cleaned celery root into small pieces and tossing it in the food processor.  I actually prefer it that way, because I like the tiny, even shreds of veggie, but what can I say…I was too lazy to lug out my machine.

Time for the dressing! You want equal parts mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, and some acid.  Of course, it MUST be full fat mayo…that should go without saying on this blog πŸ˜‰  I use dijon because it has enough kick and tartness but does not overwhelm the flavor of the veggie. You can use lemon or vinegar.  If you go with vinegar, use a light and acidic one, like white wine or sherry vinegar.  Also throw in a hearty dose of salt, black pepper, and maybe some diced scallions or shallots if you like strong flavors (as I do).

Now whisk all that up and taste it.  Is it too tart?  Add some more mayo.  Too bland?  Some more pepper or mustard…you get the point.  Then toss it on your diced veggies!

you want to mix it up and refrigerate it for at least one hour or-even better-up to 6.  I don’t even like to eat it too soon after I make it, because the celery root just can’t absorb the flavors that fast.  It absolutely NEEDS to rest.  Trust me on this.

But after it rests…man oh MAN is this amazing!  It is like cole slaw’s richer, more filling cousin.  Creamy, tangy, tart, spicy from the pepper, with the toothsome bite of the celery root.  The clean celery flavor juxtaposes that rich, fatty mayonnaise so perfectly.  The mustard cuts right through the heaviness and the salt and pepper only accent the celery root’s natural taste.  Perfect alongside a burger, a turkey sandwich, or even just a piece of bread and a hunk of cheese, this is my favorite simply flavored dish on the planet.  Although…looking back on how I have described the flavors of this awesome French side dish…I guess it’s not so simple after all.  Yeah, I take back what I said earlier.  I just like complex flavors.  What can ya do?


  1. How is it the next day? My favorite slaw that I make needs at least a couple hours to set, but it's always better the next day.

  2. I'm a complex flavor lover as well…with thai being my most favorite flavor profile on this EARTH. Sometimes you do need to go back to the classics though. And when you do…there's always remoulade. Delish!

  3. Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) says:

    I've never had celery root! I'm a big fan of complex flavors as well so you'd think I'd have tried it!

  4. Your Papa (whom I adore….I am a patient of his) told me about your blog and, since I am a food addict, I am already your slave. Love my first taste and I will be back.

    If you like you can visit me at

  5. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @JustinM-you hit it on the nose. Like a thousand times better the next day. LOVE how the dressing saturates the celery root or coleslaw!
    @Joanne-um hello! We neeeeed to have a Thai lunch date!
    @Amanda-it isn't well known, but it is easily found and also delish roasted or sauteed!
    @Lo-oh yay! I am so glad that you enjoy! Can't wait to check out your blog πŸ™‚ And I am quite the fan of my papa too πŸ™‚

  6. I've made a celery root salad where you cook the root first and then shred some apples and cut the root into match sticks. The dressing is Olive Oil, cider vinegar, a little mustard, salt, pepper and a tiny bit of lemon juice (which is actually on the apples). SUPER TASTY!!!

  7. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    ooh that sounds delicious! I love the idea of adding in apples. I'm def making this!!!