Celeriac Puree & Yogurt
For 4-6 to share as a mezze
This is a slight Middle Eastern treatment for what we consider a very British vegetable. The celeriac we get in Israel is a tight, angry, sandy little root – nothing like the large, generous, creamy-fleshed beauties we discovered when we came to this country. To us this is a truly exotic vegetable.
- 1 small celeriac head (about 500g)
- 2 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp/10g unsalted butter
- ½ cup/100g natural yogurt
Peel the celeriac and cut into small dice. Place in a heavy-bottomed pan with the oil, whole garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and salt. Start on a high heat for about 5–6 minutes to give the dice some color, then reduce the heat and cook until they go really soft (about 10 minutes). If they catch too much on the bottom of the pan, add 1–2 tablespoons of water and continue cooking until soft.
Tip the cooked celeriac and garlic into a bowl and remove the thyme sprigs. Put the butter in the empty pan and return it to the stove on a high heat to melt it, then continue heating until it starts to go golden-brown. This develops a very different flavor, so don’t be scared to let it happen.
Remove from the heat and pour onto the celeriac dice. Add the yogurt and use a stick blender (or food processor) to purée everything together to a chunky dip. Don’t make it too smooth, as getting a little surprise cube of soft celeriac is the best bit.
This is best eaten at room temperature. If you want to store it, just pop it in an airtight container in the fridge (where it will keep well for 2–3 days) and allow it to come up to room temperature before serving.