Baked celeriac with fennel and coriander broth

Baked celeriac with fennel and coriander broth

Coentrada de funcho e raiz de aipo

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Serves
4
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Coentrada (literally ‘with coriander’) is a truly fantastic preparation. It has a similar flavour to some Chinese dishes: the acidity from the vinegar, the spice of white pepper, the strong fried garlic taste, the fragrance of the fresh coriander and the lovely rich broth make the connection for me, and seem to demonstrate how Portugal’s historical involvement with China has influenced Portuguese cooking. Although you can make this dish from start to finish on the same day, the fennel broth will have an even more beautiful flavour if you make it a day in advance.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 celeriac, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
40g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

For the fennel broth

Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
a small bunch coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped separately
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
800ml vegetable stock or water
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Drizzle the celeriac with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap it in a loose parcel in kitchen foil, leaving space for it to steam. Put on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour, or until cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing. Cut into 8 pieces or wedges and set aside.
  2. Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for a few minutes, or until golden brown. Once cooled, roughly chop them.
  3. To make the fennel broth — Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the garlic and coriander stalks, season with salt and pepper and cook gently until fragrant. Add the fennel and cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft. Pour in the stock or water, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. (This broth is also a very good base for soup: I like to blend it with a dash of cream to make a lovely fennel soup). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped coriander leaves, along with a dash of lemon juice.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the celeriac pieces, flesh-side side down, and cook on each side for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Pour the broth into a serving dish with the celeriac and sprinkle with the hazelnuts.
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