Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cream Baked Eggs and Fried Celery Root

detail of celery root plant on white background Stock Photo - 3361138 The cashier at the market usually has to think for a minute to remember the code for celery root (or celeriac), or she has to look it up. The bagger will frequently look puzzled, and ask me, "What do you DO with that?" 

I always say the same thing, "Oh you just peel it, and substitute it in recipes for potatoes." 

I like celery root, it has that nice herb-y sweet celery taste, but with starchier texture. True to my word to curious bag-boys at the grocery store, I suggest using it here as a potato replacement for a fried breakfast side dish.

But first, we begin with the eggs, because they will go in the oven while you make the root vegetables.
Ingredients for Two People:

4 eggs
4 slices of your favorite soft sliced bread (if you're doing Paleo, use "cloud bread")
2 teaspoons of soft butter
4 tablespoons heavy organic cream
salt and pepper
4 ramekins, or just use a muffin pan

Preheat the oven to 350, or 325 convection.
I have the standard little ramekins from Cost Plus World Market, they are fairly inexpensive, and when you're not using them for stuff like this, they are good for serving dipping sauces and condiments.

Start by rubbing the inside of each ramekin with a half teaspoon of soft butter. Then, cut circles out of the center of each bread slice. You can either use a biscuit cutter that's about the same size, or a little bigger than, the diameter of the ramekin. I actually just used the ramekin itself to cut the circles (they weren't perfect, but who cares?) Stuff each circle into the bottom of a ramekin. 

Carefully crack a large egg on top of each bread slice, and sprinkle very well with salt and pepper. Top with a tablespoon of cream, then put  in the oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. They are soooo gooooood.
You can go ahead and serve them in the ramekins, they will stay warm longer, but if you're worried about someone accidentally burning their fingers on the burning hot ceramic (that would be me), you can just run a thin knife around the edge and use a large spoon to gently half-scoop half-slide them out onto the plate.

While your eggs are in the oven, you can make the side dish.

Ingredients for the Side Dish:

1 celery root
4 skinny young carrots (small sweet ones)
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1/4 teaspoon allspice
fresh chives

Pour a generous amount of oil for frying in a cast iron (or regular) skillet and turn heat up to high. Don't worry about fat, these veggies don't soak it up like potatoes do. 

Start by peeling your celery root. Use a chef's knife and think of it like a pineapple. Cut the bottom off and then use the knife to carve off the outside from the top down, then cut the top off last, it's better to err on the side of wasting than be left with ugly brown outer fuzz.

Slice the celery root into discs, then chop into little cubes. Chop the carrots as well (don't bother peeling them) and put them in the frying pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and ground allspice and cook on high 10-15 minutes stirring frequently.

After ten minutes, just give one of your celery root cubes a taste, to see if it's cooked to your liking, you may like it a little on the firmer side than I do (also check for salt). Use a slotted spoon or spatula to remove from the pan and serve with fresh green chives on top, along with your buttery-creamy baked eggs.
(I had them on the side in the picture, but you should chop the chives on top of the vegetables.)