You spoil me.
Always, I ask a question and you return with answers that make me smile and laugh and peek at my phone at inopportune moments through the day. I feel greedy for your stories.
It’s great to hear about your tools, and it’s even better to hear about how you love them. Where they came from, who you think about when you use them, how they change how you feel in your kitchen. Reading your comments made me pick up my own tools and think about them in a new way. You know how sometimes when you hear a story, it becomes your story too?
And yes, with all those beautiful answers, there’s a winner. Who’s getting the Anna spoon?
The winner of the spoon is Ann, who loves her kitchen scale the most. (She also shares my love for secreting away the Crate and Barrel catalog, and I’m very grateful for the company.) Send me an email, Ann, and Emily and Ray will get your new spoon to you.
I’ve been working on a pumpkin pie recipe, and my plan was to share it with you today. Don’t worry, it’s not too crazy or innovative–but I’m getting reports over here of “the best pumpkin pie EVER,” so I think I’m on the right track. I’ll have it to you by the end of the week, but in the mean time, in these few minutes I have between deadlines and more deadlines, I want to pay tribute to your cast iron skillet.
There was so much love for the cast iron skillet in those comments. We all love the versatility of those heavy old pans, the inevitable history and future of every pan, and their willingness to be treated well or poorly and cook for you either way. And so today, I have a gift for your cast iron skillet.
I know it’s eight days until Thanksgiving. We’ll have that conversation later, but I’m not worried about you–you’re going to do great. But this potato cake is for normal, everyday dinner, when you’ve had the good fortune to put a chicken in the oven to roast and you have a few minutes to make one more thing. It cooks on the stove for a few minutes, then slides on the oven tray just below that chicken. Maybe even the chicken will sputter and drip a few juices on the pan–all the better. And when the chicken is done (that is, if you’re a high heat/ fast time) chicken roaster, then the cake is done too. Happy Wednesday, friends. I’ll see you over pumpkin pie before the week is through.
Potato Celery Root Skillet Cake
1 pound celery root, peeled (cut into rounds, then cut off the outer rough edge) and grated (use a food processor if you’ve got one!)
1 pound potatoes, peeled and grated (again, the food processor!)
1 tablespoon salt, plus more, for sprinkling
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, all the white and half the green, halved, sliced, and cleaned (soak in water with a bit of white vinegar- magic!)
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Immediately after grating them, combine the celery root, potato, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Fill it with cold water, and let them soak for at least 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in your favorite cast iron frying pan. (Medium to large is good here.) Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until they are soft and fragrant and you can’t resist eating one right out of the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat, and transfer the leeks to a bowl.
3. Line a large colander with a clean dish towel and pour the potatoes and celery root into it. Let the liquid drain, then gather the edges of the towel together (making a tight little bundle) and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
4. Melt another tablespoon of butter in the frying pan over medium heat, spreading it around the sides of the pan as well. Pack 1/2 of the potato mixture into the pan, making sure to pack it down with your hands as you go. Then, spread the leeks over the potato layer. Sprinkle half the cheese over the leeks. Pack the rest of the potato mixture into the pan, again compressing it with your hands. Top with the final half cup of parmesan, and a few little pats of butter. If you like your potatoes salty, sprinkle with a flurry of additional salt. Let the pan sit, untouched, until you see the cheese start to bubble up. This will take a few minutes, but take care not to burn it. If it seems in danger of burning, turn the heat down a bit, or just skip to the next step.
5. Remove the pan from heat and transfer to the oven (on the rack under your chicken!). Bake for 40 minutes, then put under the broiler for a few minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool for at least ten minutes–then turn out of the pan and cut into slices.
I love things that go in the oven with other things. If you follow.
If you need a humorous break from your catalog reading, this made me laugh: http://m.deadspin.com/5959212/the-haters-guide-to-the-williams+sonoma-catalog?post=54295994
(though I think I canconfess here that I love the WS catalog, even when I hate it 🙂
Oh, Hannah, I just said here at my desk- laughing all by my self through that entire article. I think it was made just for me. (And also, for you, of course)
This is a genius method for peeling celery root! You’ve changed my life.
For years, I peeled those roots with a paring knife! I don’t remember who taught me this trick, but I felt the very same way. It’s a life changer.
Rachel @ 6512 and growing says
Why soak the potatoes?
Hi Rachel! Soaking the potato/celery root mixture does 3 things:
1. It stops the potato from turning brown between the grating and the cooking (just aesthetic).
2. I find it creates a slightly better texture in the cooked potato and celery root.
3. It infuses the veggies with salt, which is really nice in this case–otherwise you can sprinkle it throughout but the flavor isn’t quite as good.
Oh this looks so simple and good! I’m terrible at taking care of my cast iron pan though. And I also tend to roast my chickens in it, so I wouldn’t be able to do the two things at once unless I steal another cast iron pan off my parents again!
I’m a huge believer in a 2 cast iron pan kitchen! (I must admit, I have three…)
This sounds fabulous!!
I’ll make it as soon as I get my hands on a celery root!
That sounds divine.
Keep the celeriac peelings – they’re wonderful for making stock.
Brilliant! So happy to throw another scrap into my veggie scrap bag in the freezer. Thank you!
This sounds just delicious and I think the whole family will enjoy it. I look forward to getting an ugly ol’ celery root in the farm share so we can try.
This looks great- what would you recommend serving it with? Would you consider this a breakfast food or a dinner side (or main dish)?
Hi Mary! We ate this with roast chicken and some greens, and that was perfect. That being said, leftovers also made a pretty little lunch- just a warmed-up slice alongside a simple, herby salad. It would certainly work for breakfast, kind of like a dressed up hash brown, maybe with a fried egg on top? In other words- it’s versatile! But I’d say as a side dish for dinner, but a main for lunch.
I browse many food blogs and am always trying out recipes with new ingredients but don’t think I’ve ever gone back to post a note before. I got a celeriac in my CSA last week and was trying to decide what to do with it and decided to try out this recipe last night. It was absolutely amazing and I’m so excited for the leftovers today. I never expected so much flavor in a this dish and was glad to have a chance to use the old cast iron skillet that I’ve inherited. I plan to add this to my frequently-made dishes, as long as I can keep finding celeriac.
Oh, I’m so glad to hear it, Kirstin! I love this one too- and although I love the potato/ celeriac combo in soup, I think it’s even better like this.
If you haven’t tried it, I recommend growing your own celery root. It is delicious and stores well. Very easy and it just sits in not-perfectly-sunny spot in the garden (near the lettuce) for the summer…I store it, like other root vegetables we grow, in large coolers, between layers of damp sand, that sit on the unheated garage floor all winter.
I haven’t grown celery root! But I’m planning on it for this year- a few new veggies every year….
Great strategy in peeling celery root. The cake looks flavorful and the ingredients are easy to find. A perfect recipe for special occasions.