Celeriac and Garlic Mousse with Fresh Coriander Sauce

No one seems sure of its origins but from the earliest records garlic has been reputed to have both curative and preventative powers. In Ancient Egypt it was regarded as a deity while in Classical Greece athletes used to eat garlic before games in the stadium, and fighting cocks were fed it before being put in the ring.

But to me the main bonus is the flavour, which combines so well with countless ingredients. Although this recipe uses a large amount of garlic the taste is smooth, mild and sweet, which is what happens when the garlic has been cooked long and gently.

Ingredients

  • 450 g/1 lb celeriac
  • 8-10 large cloves garlic
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 rounded teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg white
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • salt
  • black pepper

For the sauce

  • 300 ml/½ pint Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • generous handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • cayenne pepper

Method

Peel the celeriac and chop it up roughly. Put it into a pan of cold water with the whole unpeeled garlic cloves and bring to the boil. Simmer until soft and then drain. Smear a 1.2 litre/2 pint mould or loaf tin generously with olive oil and sprinkle the paprika over the bottom. Put a roasting tin of hot water in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.

Pop the boiled garlic cloves out of their skins and put them into a food processor with the celeriac, egg white, cream, honey and mace. Whizz until very smooth, then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour slowly into the prepared mould or tin and put into the roasting tin of water in the oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until firm to a light touch in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave until almost cold, then loosen the sides carefully, using a round-bladed knife if necessary, and turn out on to a serving plate.

To make the sauce, simply mix the yoghurt, vinegar and chopped coriander together and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.

Serve the mousse at room temperature. Cut it into thick slices and place on individual plates, with the sauce on the side of each plate.

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