BAKING in salt involves burying food in a sand-like mixture of salt and egg white. The salt insulates the food, cooking it gently and evenly. The technique of baking ingredients in salt has been around for centuries, and is used to enhance the flavour of vegetables and fish.
This week we will prepare a salt baked celeriac, which will hold centre stage on the table. This dish is perfect for sharing and produces a flavor which is hard to beat.
The salt crust dries out under the heat of the oven and forms a baked clay-like cocoon, protecting and locking in the flavours of what’s inside. Mix in a generous handful of fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme to add extra flavor to the dish.
When the dish comes out of the oven crack open the hardened, golden salt shell to unearth the buried treasure. This cooking method can be used on fish, potatoes, game and fruits. The crust recipe remains the same but the cooking times need to be adjusted depending on what is inside.
Celeriac baked in a salt crust
What you need
- 2 small celeriac
- 550g of plain flour
- 600g of salt
- 9 egg whites
- 300ml of water
What to do
- Preheat the oven to 160ËšC.
- Wash the celeriac and trim off any roots.
- Combine the flour, salt, egg whites and water, and mix thoroughly to form a paste.
- Place a small amount of the paste on a baking tray to act as the base for the celeriac.
- Place the celeriac flat side down on the paste base and spread the remainder over the celeriac, making sure each piece is completely covered.
- Bake in the oven for 3 hours.
- After 3 hours, or once the pastry forms a hard, golden crust around the celeriac, remove from the oven.
- Use a strong metal spatula to loosen the base of each of the celeriac before lifting it from the baking tray.
- Use the heel of a knife to make small cracks around the top of the crust to expose the celeriac.
- Remove from the salt crust and enjoy.