After nearly two months away in Greece and the UK I’m home again and brimming with the joy of post covid adventure and reuniting with my Northern hemisphere whānau.
Can I cure myself of my post-holiday-blues by cooking up two of the many stand out meals of our trip?
The celeriac dish came to me in the later part of our holiday on a friend’s farm in Bath, UK. With spring on her way out and summer not quite there yet already we ate kale in every conceivable way possible but my most favourite incarnation was the kale and herb oil we ladled over a whole slow roast celeriac. The miracle of celeriac! Surely she must be the queen of root vegetables. Fragrant and earthy it responds so well to a slow roast with the creamy yellow flesh becoming melt in your mouth soft and the skin, crunchy and salty. Today I drizzled it in a bright green ‘sauce’ made from silver beet greens, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Move over kale. Silver beet just became a much tastier marriage!
My last meal of the Greek trip was King Prawn Saganaki devoured in a beach side restaurant on the island of Kos with the med lapping around our toes. There’s nothing tastier than large juicy prawns poached in an umami rich fresh tomato sauce and topped with almost crunchy grilled feta. I’ve been wanting to recreate it ever since. So, whilst Prawn Saganaki doesn’t sound one bit like an early winter meal, as it happens one of the last jobs I did before we left for our adventures was to grill - on the Ironclad Grande Legacy Grill - and freeze 20kgs of late summer ripe tomatoes. So today I whipped a handful of those frozen beauties out of the freezer and into a pan and the most delicious of tomato sauces emerged minutes later. And minutes after that a sizzling pan of Prawn Saganaki!
I must admit there were two ‘essentials’ missing from my pantry. Firstly, the king prawns and secondly the feta. So, in the spirit of compromise, I whipped the tails off some defrosted raw peeled prawns and grated up some tasty cheddar cheese. And as she mopped up the last of tomato sauce from her plate with a hunk of celeriac, my hungry better half thought it tasted better than that pan full of deliciousness in Kos. She’s a keeper.
Massage salt and oil into the Celeriac and roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 160°C or until a knife comes out clean and the celeriac is deliciously golden brown and sizzling.
1 silver beet leaf, destalked
2 cloves garlic
Juice of half a lemon
½ c olive oil
Salt to taste
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender till smooth. This will make more than you need for this dish, but you won’t be able to stop pouring it on everything. (It’s very good on poached eggs if you can get them.)
To serve, spoon the green sauce over the top of the hot quartered roasted celeriac and dust with extra Culley’s Kitchen Salt and Vinegar seasoning.
1 ½ c tomatoes
1 T sweet smoked paprika
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T olive oil
1 T vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
250 g prawns, defrosted and tails removed
100g cheddar cheese, grated or 100 g hard feta cheese
Dried thyme and or oregano, to taste
To make the sauce combine all ingredients, and blend, then simmer in the Lil’ Legacy for 5 minutes.
Top with the prawns, cheese and dried herbs and grill for 5 minutes till golden and sizzling.
*** If you happen to have a drizzle of Allpress Extra Virgin Olive Oil on hand (it’s the best Aotearoa has to offer) and a sprinkle of Culley’s Kitchen Salt and Vinegar Seasoning (Omg next level yummy) then drizzle and sprinkle to your hearts content. But if you don’t? Then get some for next time. And if your freezer is full of ice cream and not tomatoes then tinned are just fine.