Sunday, February 21, 2016

Celery Root Mousse with Mortadella

Celery root is a popular vegetable in Poland, so I have known it since my childhood. In Poland, it is mostly used to prepare soups and a vegetable salad with mayonnaise. Celery root is also quite popular in French cuisine. For instance, I ate a celery root gratin and a marinated celery root as a salad. Recently, I also found some recipes with celery root in the Italian cooking magazines.

During my recent trip to Italy, in one of the restaurants I visited, I saw a celery mousse being served. It looked very interesting and elegant so I tried to recreate it at home. Celery root has much more flavor than celery stalks and it takes a somewhat sophisticated taste to appreciate it. In this particular dish it tastes very pure and almost bland, but it complements the dish very well as it contrasts the taste of a flavorful mortadella. A small bowl of mousse served with bread of can make a great dinner started or Sunday lunch.

Celery Root Mousse with Mortadella
(Makes 4-6 servings)

1 medium celery root peeled and cut into smaller cubes,
2 small shallots,
2 tbsp olive oil,
1 cup light cream,
salt and pepper,
4 slices very thin cut imported Italian mortadella,
2 tbsp slivered Pistachios.

1. Heat the oil in a frying pot, add chopped shallots, and fry until transparent.
2. Add pieces of celery, cover with water, and cook for about 20 minutes, until celery becomes soft.
3. When the celery is already soft and water almost evaporates, add cream, salt and pepper, and let it all simmer for about 2 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat, cool down slightly and purée with a hand blender.
5. Divide mousse among small glass serving bowls and cool to room temperature.
6. Cut mortadella slices in half, then into strips and top the mousse.

Sprinkle with pistachios and serve with bread.