Sunday, February 17, 2008

Recipe: Celery Root Waffles with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream

I love second-hand stores.

What do I buy? Pretty much anything. Most frequently it’s clothes, dishes, glassware, kitchen tools, or books.

I’m happier wearing clothes that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Because I'm a thrift store regular, I make amazing finds. Lately, my husband’s been looking debonair in an Armani blazer I bought for $1.00. It’s in flawless condition and fits him perfectly.

Since I’ve been writing Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska, I’ve purchased an assortment of second-hand plates and bowls. They help make my photographs more interesting and allow me to use dishes that best set off each individual recipe.

Since we’re both notorious breakers, I long ago gave up buying nice wine glasses. The few we have left are put away and brought out only for company. For us, thrift store glassware is definitely the way to go.

Most of the dishes, pots and pans, and kitchen tools in our Greek house came from American second-hand stores and were hauled to Greece in our baggage. The pride of my Greek kitchen is a Kitchenaid stand mixer I bought for $12.50 at Salvation Army.

Our Greek relatives don’t understand why I would buy anything second-hand. They find the whole concept to be confusing and vaguely distasteful. Why would we want something that had been previously owned by a stranger? Not surprisingly, there isn’t a single second-hand store on the island.

I’ve bought and thoroughly enjoyed used books I never would've bought new. One of these books is A Passion for Vegetables: Simple and Inspired Recipes from Around the Globe by British chef Paul Gayler. Published in 2000 for $35.00, I brought the book home for the shockingly high price of $3.50.

A Passion for Vegetables is full of interesting ideas for cooking vegetables (it is not 100% vegetarian). Gus Filgate’s photographs are gorgeous and very inspirational.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Gayler’s recipe for celery root (celeriac) waffles and smoked salmon. I had a celery root from Full Circle Farm and plenty of Gravlax in the freezer. I paired the two for brunch last Saturday.

Although I liked Gayler’s concept, I modified his recipe to eliminate waste and make a batter that worked in my waffle iron. The result was a crisp waffle with a mild celery flavor that nicely complemented Gravlax. I finished the dish with a dollop of tasty horseradish cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill.

Although we enjoyed it for brunch, Celery Root Waffles with Smoked Salmon (or Gravlax) and Horseradish Cream would make a scrumptious cold appetizer. I’m definitely making this again.

Celery Root Waffles with GravlaxCelery Root Waffles with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish Cream
Makes 6 6 - 7” waffles (serves 4 for brunch) or 24 appetizer pieces
Adapted from
A Passion for Vegetables by Paul Gayler (Lyons Press 2000)

1 pound celery root (3/4 pound cleaned)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black or pepper
3 Tbsp. butter

Horseradish cream:
6 Tbsp. whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
3 Tbsp. finely minced red onion or chives
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt

6 - 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, lox, or gravlax
2 Tbsp. minced dill

Prepare the Celery Root: Cut the top and bottom off the celery root, leaving broad flat surfaces on either end. Put the celery root on a cutting board with a flat side down. Use a sharp knife and cut down towards the board to remove the peel; doing this in small pieces makes the job faster and easier. Once the celery root is peeled, cut it in half and then in wedges. Use a paring knife to remove the soft cottony center of each wedge. For pictures of how to do this, go

Cut the wedges of celery root into chunks. Put the milk and celery root in a saucepan, bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the celery root is tender.

Make the Horseradish Cream: While the celery root is simmering, whisk the whipping cream until it starts to stiffen. Whisk in the horseradish, minced onions, lemon juice, and salt until the cream is fully whipped.

Make the Waffles: When the celery root is tender, remove it from the heat. Puree the milk and celery root using a stick blender, food processor, or blender. Quickly whisk 1/2 cup of celery root puree into the eggs, and then whisk this mixture back into the celery root puree.

Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Melt the butter and whisk it into the batter.

Preheat the waffle iron and cook the waffles. As each waffle is done, put it on a baking rack to cool; this helps prevent condensation and keeps the waffles crisp.

To Serve: Cut or break each waffle into quarters. Arrange a slice of smoked salmon or gravlax on the waffle, top with a small dollop of horseradish cream, and sprinkle with minced dill.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Lia from Swirling Notions.


Peter M said...

Laurie, good news you're also set for Greece this summer. Your invite is extended if you're planning on being in Thes/niki anytime...I'm 30 minutes south.

As for the waffle, a nice twist making it savory.

Cakelaw said...

This looks delicious Laurie. A working Kitchenaid for $12.50 - I would love to get one for this price! Second hand books are fun, but I'm fussy about second hand clothes - if they smell remotely like Nanna, I'm out of there.

Ivy said...

I'm totally with cakelaw. I wouldn't mind at all about second hand object, being cleaned and sterilized but for clothes, although I know that they sterilize them I wouldn't wear them. I just remembered I have waffler hidden somewhere in my pantry. You made a nice creation and your photo is very good as well.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I like to get used cook books, but wow, a Kitchenaid for that price? Can't beat that!

That's a really interesting way to make a waffle, and given the pairings, it seems like it would be incredibly delicious.

Núria said...

Hola Laurie!
Here is Spain there's only a few 2nd hand stores, but people doesn't seem to like it much.
If I could find a kitchen accesories second hand shop, I'd surely buy something!!!

Your salmon over that waffle looks wonderful!!! I don't have a waffle iron... never tried making one... never ate one!! Lots of things to learn still!!! :D

Bijoux said...

Interesting recipe idea. Celery root waffles and gravlax sounds delicious!!
Another kitchen item that I need to get my hands on is a waffle iron. I can't believe that you scored a KitchenAid for $12.50!! That kind of find would be impossible in my overpopulated city.
I know what you mean about the second-hand concept in Greece. When I lived in Athens for a couple of years and asked friends if there are any second hand shops there they looked at me dumbfounded and exclaimed "why on earth would I want to purchase something that once belonged to someone else!"LOL

Susan said...

I'm not a dedicated thrift shopper, but I did find some one-of-a-kind blog props while happening upon a yard sale. Never mind that I haven't used them yet - had to have them!

Celeriac waffles sound like a perfect crust for gravlax.

MARIA V said...

aren't greeks strange in their dislike for second-hand clothes and crockery? it's all got to be brand spanking new for them; if they find out you wear second-hand clothes they snub you as if you are a filthy vagrant.

Cheryl said...

I really miss thrift shopping. I used to love buying the kids' clothes from consigment shops-and toys lots of toys. I gave my husband's cousin some of Foti's old clothes and I think that I made a mistake. She didn't seem too thrilled. I agree with Marie V, it's strange that someone wouldn't like to find ways to reuse and recycle...but hey, when I was emptying out this house I the neighbors were all over it. Go figure.
I loved this recipe as I had never thought of eating waffles with salmon and horseradish.

ThreeTastes said...

The Japanese are the same way about second-hand items! Some of my best finds here have been estate items because people don't want hand-me-down ceramics and porcelains. Lucky for me!

I have some left-over Swedish-Belgian (Swedish recipe, Belgian waffle iron) waffles I was contemplating using as a base for a chicken ala king type sauce. Wish I had gravalax as a pantry staple!! ; )

Bijoux said...

Maria V - it must have something to do with Greek pride and a reflection upon people's wealth...mind you - the Monastiraki in Athens has oodles of second hand antiques and a mish- mash of used items for sale on Sundays...people browse but I'm not sure they ever buy anything.

Laurie Constantino said...

Peter M - thanks for the invite! I pretty much like every kind of waffle.

Gaye,the Kitchenaid was definitely a score. As for clothes, if they stink I don't touch them, but most things can be washed in hot water and come out just fine.

Ivy, I think it's a cultural difference. Second hand and consignment stores, as well as garage sales, are pervasive in the US. Most people I know have happily bought second hand clothes and have learned how to clean them well. Glad you liked the waffle recipe and lucky you to have a waffle iron!

Mike, having broken the ice with the celery root waffle, I'm going to try it with other root vegetables!

Nuria, there's so much for all of us to learn - it's one of the reasons I like reading the full range of international blogs - I keep finding out about delicious sounding foods that I've never tried before.

Bijoux, I think the Kitchenaid was a matter of being in the right place at the right time and probably means I spend way too much time at second-hand stores. And I've had the same reaction from Athenian friends...the concept of second-hand just didn't compute.

Susan, I'm sure you'll use your new props soon (although I love your pictures, so maybe you don't need them!)

Maria, my husband says it may be a reaction to the widespread poverty in Greece after WWII, the civil war, and the devaluation of the drachma. Too many people were forced to wear hand-me-downs and used clothes send from relatives in other countries. Now that people can afford to buy new, they don't want anything to do with used. I don't know why, but you have exactly correct about how people act if you admit to wearing anything second-hand. Bijoux also has a good point about Greek pride -- the rejection of second-hand could be based on the same impulse that inspires Athenians to save bags from expensive stores to reuse and proudly display.

Cheryl, yes, thrift stores are perfect for kids. And you've really nailed one of the reasons I like buying second-hand - it's the same reason I compulsively recycle everything I can. Glad you liked the waffles - this is the first time I've made savory ones.

Manju, lucky you indeed! Waffles sound like a great base for chicken ala king. Can't wait to read about it...

swirlingnotions said...

Wow does this look great! I've been waffling about buying a waffle iron (ha), and I think this may have cinched it for me. And I think I'll actually go buy a second-hand one!

Kalyn said...

What an interesting idea for a savory waffle! I've never heard of that cookbook, but it sounds like something I'd like. I do share your passion for buying second-hand stuff, especially things like blog dishes and cooking utensils. So fun to get a great-looking dish for a dollar or two!

A scientist in the kitchen said...

Hi Laurie, you make me curious about celery roots. I saw a lot of at Pike's Place in Seattle and just took pictures. Do they taste like celery?


Toni said...

What a great variation on a theme! I would never have thought to add celery root to a waffle, and I would never have thought to put smoked salmon on top -- Fantastic! This one is getting bookmarked!