NOT a brain in a tin – things haven’t got that bad.
It is of course an entire baked celeriac, the recipe for which I fell upon, (by Ottolenghi, naturally), because it just looked to easy and crazy not to try it.
I like celeriac, but normally you have to do horrendous, possibly illegal things to it in order to render it edible – cut it into chips, (of COURSE I’ve got 9 spare hours), then cover it in tomato ketchup, or grate it and cover it in mayonnaise.
This dish reminds me of a famous pudding Alice Waters used to serve – this may well be an apocryphal story – at Chez Panisse, which was just a single, perfect peach and a sharp knife with which to eat it. This is why I love Americans – they can be so blindingly uncynical and literal. It’s an enormous freedom of sorts.
Anyway this recipe is barely a recipe, more of a sort of physical prayer, an act of devotion to this root vegetable with a face only a mother could love.
All you do is get a celeriac, scrub it – don’t even peel it – and weigh it. Although weighing it isn’t even that necessary.
Lightly grind a heaped teaspoon of coriander seeds (also not essential) then cover the celeriac with oil, 1 heaped tsp of sea salt and the crushed seeds.
Then put it in a tin and into a 170C oven.
A big celeriac 1.2kg will take 3 hours. One half the size will take half the time. It pretty much can’t overcook so just leave it in there all afternoon if you want.
Then you cut it into wedges and serve with a squeeze of lemon. If you’ve got one. I also have in my mind that this might be really nice with some Sriracha swirled into yoghurt… but then, I’ve always got half a mind thinking about Sriracha.
I’m now vaguely wondering if you can do an entire dinner made out of “whole, baked” things – camembert, fish, celeriac… what else?