Celery root, sometimes called celeriac, is about the size of a softball, gnarled and ugly. It has an intense but mellow celery flavor. Puree it with potatoes; it’s a haunting combination.
1½ to 1¾pounds whole celery root, peeled, washed, quartered, and sliced thin
1poundall-purpose potatoes, peeled, quartered, and sliced thin
Freshly grated nutmeg
1tablespoonextra virgin olive oil (optional)
In a large saucepan combine the celery root, bay leaf, and garlic, add enough water to cover the celery root by 2inches, and add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer over medium heat until the celery root is almost tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes and celery root are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain vegetables, reserving about 1cup of the cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Pass the vegetables through a food mill. Add small amounts of the reserved cooking water as needed to keep vegetables moist. Add grated nutmeg to taste. Stir the pureed vegetables and add more cooking water for desired consistency. Drizzle the olive oil over the surface, if using.