It’s mid-winter here in New Zealand and the organic supermarket is full of celeriac and fennel, two vegetables that go well together in a kind of rustic French way. Celeriac is one of those underrated but highly versatile vegetables that often gets shunned for it’s rather unelegant apperance. It’s not the root of celery as it’s name suggests but kind of like a cousin, similar in flavour but a little more nutty. With the fennel, lemon and celeriac, this whole dish is very high in vitamin C. Mother Nature sure knows how to look after us by providing produce that’s high in flu-fighting properties during the winter. It’s also pretty high in magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K. Make sure to use the zest of the lemon as well as the juice to give the risotto that wonderfully fragrant flavour. Yum.
Lemon & Black Pepper Celeriac Risotto
1 medium celeriac root
juice and zest of 1 small lemon
1 tbsp finely chopped celery leaves
1/2 cup finely shaved fennel bulb
1 tsp unpasteurised miso
1/4 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pure water
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
Trim off the outer layer of the celeriac root to remove all the dirt filled crevices, dice into cubes and pulse in a high speed blender or food processor with the lemon juice until fine. It should be about the size of rice or a little smaller in order to release more of the flavoursome juices. Adding the lemon juice at this point prevents the celeriac from discolouring as it oxidises.
Set the celeriac aside and process the sunflower seeds, miso paste and water until fairly smooth but still with a little texture.
Combine the sunflower mixture with the celeriac and the remaining ingredients.
Season with extra black pepper, sea salt and a little cold pressed olive oil if desired.
Serve in a bowl garnished with chopped celery leaves and lemon zest, scoop up with flax crackers or even wrap in romaine leaves with some fresh alfalfa sprouts and your favourite greens.
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