In this dish, tender salt-baked celeriac is served with a whey and brown butter sauce recipe, split with dill oil for a visually striking finish. The varying and contrasting textures in this dish make for a stunning result – the ideal dinner party starter for autumn or winter.
Ranno Paukson and Martin Meikas, chefs and co-owners of Restaurant Ö, Tallinn, hail from the island of Saaremaa, the largest island in Estonia. On this magical isle, the locals have a slightly different dialect, with heavy usage of the letter Ö.
To begin, make the salt-baked celeriac. Wash and peel the celeriac, scrubbing with a brush until completely clean. Cut the root part of the celeriac so that it sits flat on a baking tray and completely cover with the salt. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, then test with a knife – it should be completely tender
Meanwhile, make the celeriac crumb. Preheat a deep-fryer to 180°C
Wash and peel the celeriac then grate on a cheese grater. Once the oil is hot, add the celeriac and deep-fry until golden and crispy. Drain in a sieve before placing on kitchen paper – you may need to replace the paper if it gets too oily. Season with salt and set aside
Wash the celery and place on a chopping board. Using a peeler, cut long strips of the celery and place immediately in iced water. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve
To make the brown butter for the sauce, melt the butter in the pan over a low heat, cooking until golden and the butter is nutty in aroma
To make the whey and brown butter sauce, place the whey and brown butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Transfer to a blender, blitz until smooth then season with salt and a little sugar – the flavour should be sweet, sour and salty
To make the dill oil, place the dill and oil in a Thermomix or other heating blender and blitz on high for 5-10 minutes, until it reaches 80°C. Once up to temperature, pass through a sieve lined with muslin, transfer to a squeezy bottle and chill quickly in an ice bath. Doing this quickly will help the oil to retain a vivid green colour
Remove the celeriac from the oven once ready and remove the salt, wiping away with a damp cloth (you can use the salt several times, so don't throw it away)
To serve, cut the celeriac into quarters and brown lightly with a blowtorch to caramelise before placing two pieces on each plate. Add a pile of the celeriac crumb and decorate with celery ribbons
Mix the brown butter and whey sauce with a little of the dill oil, but not too well as you want the sauce to be split. Pour over the sauce just before serving and garnish with celery leaves