Salt-Roasted Celery Root with Horseradish Cheese Curds, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette, and Benne Seed Crumble
Cook and the Bear, West Hartford, CT and Millwright’s, Simsbury, CT
- 2 cups Kosher salt
- 4 egg whites
- 1 large celery root (skin left on)
- Water as needed
Horseradish Cheese Curds:
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup cream
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 Meyer lemon, halved
- 1/2 cup peeled horseradish, diced large
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 3/4 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon high-quality extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
Benne Seed Crumble:
- 1 tablespoon benne seeds (or sesame seeds)
- 1 tablespoon Parmesan, finely grated on a microplane
- 1 teaspoon espellete pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare the celery root: in a bowl, mix together the salt and egg whites. Add water as needed until the mixture becomes a paste. Completely cover the celery root in the salt mix and place on sheet tray. Bake for one hour.
Remove the celery root from the oven and allow to sit and steam in the salt crust for 45 minutes. Using the back of your knife, crack open the salt crust and remove the celery root. Peel the celery root and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Then quarter the slices to get bite-sized pieces. Taste a piece; it should be appropriately seasoned from the salt baking, but if it needs more, add a little maldon salt to taste when plating.
Make the horseradish cheese curds: place the milk, cream, buttermilk, Meyer lemon, and horseradish into a medium pot. Mix with a spoon and heat over medium heat until the curds have formed and the whey looks watery, about 20 minutes. (Note: make sure to slowly simmer the mixture. Do not boil.)
Remove the pot from the heat and in a large bowl, strain the mixture through cheesecloth. Allow to cool at room temperature, then remove the lemon and horseradish chunks. Season with salt to taste.
Make the Meyer lemon vinaigrette: whisk together the lemon juice and zest with the honey. Slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil while whisking. Finish with the olive oil and season with salt to taste.
Make the benne seed crumble: in a sauté pan, toast the benne seeds over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss the warm seeds directly into a bowl with the Parmesan and espellete and mix together. The Parmesan should melt just slightly, forming small clumps.
To plate: place a good amount of room temperature cheese on the bottom of a plate. Top the cheese with slices of room-temperature celery root. Dress the plated items with the lemon vinaigrette and sprinkle the benne crumble on top.