Celery and Pepita Salad

Si la femme savait ce que le céleri fait à l'homme, 
elle irait en chercher de Paris à Rome

I forgot to include mayonnaise. Sorry about that.
Celery root. Big, gnarled, overall strange looking. Important ingredient of many soups and salads, although rarely eaten raw. Actually, in many countries the root itself  isn't known to be edible - my Mother made a small sensation in her day when, travelling in France, she mentioned a recipe that called for "celery, but not the green parts that grow above the earth. The part that grows below." It had subsequently proved very difficult to obtain. And yet, it is a very valuable vegetable (VVV) when it comes to health concerns. Full of vitamins and minerals, especially recommended in cases of exhaustion and depleted strength such as recovering from an illness. It is also said to have an... invigorating influence on men, as the proverb above demonstrates, although I have not yet had an opportunity (or, indeed, a necessity ;) ) to find out. But if anyone can either corroborate or disprove the claim, I'd be happy to know.
So, how to eat it? Well, the simplest answers are often the best and it is certainly so in this case : a raw celery salad is the thing to do if You want to profit of all its properties in an enjoyable way. It is the simplest recipe imaginable, although today we'll be making it a little differently, because we'll be adding pepita instead of the usual sunflower seeds.
Pepita, or pumpkin seeds, are one of my favourite snacks and a great thing all round. They are also very appropriate for the season, as we're nearing Halloween. Strictly speaking, I do not celebrate Halloween as such, and my Samhain celebrations tend to be a little chaotic at best, as there's another holiday around where I live in the same time and it tends to interfere. But while usually I do my best with what I have, this year will be different, the reason being appropriately related to pumpkin seeds.
Because even though I made the actual salad (and the pictures) at home, as usual, I have subsequently packed it and took it with me as I left to spend the next five days... elsewhere. I have met someone and pumpkin seeds tend to be the leitmotif of our meetings. Right now I'm sitting on his couch typing this, and there's a 1 kg bag of them beside me. Madness, but of the positive kind.
So, even though I was planning a feast of Samhein-related Witchcraft for my dear readers, once again I am limited to apologizing for the scarcity of my updates and placating You with a primitive recipe. But hey, it's really good!
  • Celery root - they tend to be big, so half a root is more than enough for two
  • Pumpkin or sunflower seeds - as much as You like
  • Sauce base - this should be suited to Your tastes. Take mayonnaise for a rich, elegant effect, cream if You don't like mayonnaise, natural yoghurt for the ultra-healthy version or olive oil if You are lactose intolerant/vegan
  • Thyme - preferably fresh
  • Green pepper
This salad is simplicity itself.  Simply peel the celery (or indeed cut off the outer layer, as it's hard to call it "peeling"), rinse the root and grate it on a big grater to receive solid, thick strands. Mix the sauce base - I always go with mayonnaise, I like mayonnaise - with thyme and just a bit of fresh ground pepper (green is best, You can add black instead but not red it doesn't fit). Mix everything - the celery, the seeds, the sauce - and you're good to go. This is a sister salad for carrot and sunflower, but since celery root is a bit spicy in itself, we're not adding garlic here. And it's more decorative, although it looks its best if other food you're serving isn't white. Usually I pair it off with roast potatoes.

For a more "exotic" feel, add some raisins. If You like raisins. And have a Spectacular Samhain!

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