A simple celeriac ‘steak’ transformed into a rather opulent main course full of savoury, plummy flavour
Awareness of climate change, and how meat production contributes so drastically towards it, has given me huge inspiration in my recipe writing. A simple mantra to follow is to cook with more seasonal vegetables, grown as close to home as possible. And when we do eat meat, how can we eat less of it, buy better quality and use it to season our food, rather than filling up on it? My cooking is having to get more creative, so we are eating more adventurously and (hopefully) deliciously.
Celeriac steaks with sherry, lardons and capers
The sherry-rich sauce of sweet onions, raisins and piquant capers transforms these humble celeriac steaks into a dish fit for a king.
Prep 15 min
Cook 30 min
1 medium celeriac, peeled and sliced into four
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and finely diced
Salt and black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 small handful chopped oregano or thyme
80-100g lardons or diced streaky bacon, free-range or organic, if possible
2 tbsp capers
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
150ml sherry (a medium-dry amontillado would be delicious)
1 handful very finely chopped curly parsley, to serve
Boil a medium pan of salted water, add the celeriac steaks and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes, until you can easily insert a small, sharp knife. Remove the celeriac and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add half the oil and sweat the onion for 10 minutes until translucent, seasoning generously with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up a fraction, add the garlic, oregano, raisins and lardons, and fry, stirring regularly, for five to six minutes. Once the lardons are golden, add the capers, vinegar, sherry and 100ml water, and bring to simmering point. Pour into a small saucepan and simmer very gently.
Wipe out the frying pan and put on a medium-high heat. Add half the remaining oil and fry the celeriac steaks in two batches, until golden – a minute or two a side. Serve the steaks with the sherry and lardons poured over and sprinkled with parsley. This is delicious with a crisp, green salad and, for extra crunch, a sprinkling of garlicky fried breadcrumbs on top (it’s a great way to use up stale bread).
And for the rest of the week
If you are avoiding meat, omit the lardons and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and slices of green olive. Any leftover sauce is wonderful spooned over roast cauliflower or pan-fried fish.