Panfried slabs of celeriac covered with a delightful sesame-soy-ginger Wafu dressing and topped with fried garlic crisps, sesame seeds, and spring onions.
This Wafu Seroriakku Suteki recipe by Tim Anderson was published in the Easter 2020 edition of Olive Magazine and comes from his most recent cookbook, Vegan JapanEasy. No online version to be found, so please find below my version.
The recipe (serves 4)
One celeriac usually yields about three slices of approx 2½ cm / 1″ thickness, so you can fit at least 2 of them in a large frying pan. Compared to the original recipe, the main thing I would do differently is to cook the celeriac steaks at medium heat (9-10 minutes on each side) instead of over high heat (7-10 minutes each side). By re-using the oil in which you made the crispy garlic, you automatically infuse flavor in the black pepper-seasoned celeriac “steaks”, but the caramelization over high heat sets in well before the celeriac is cooked all the way through. Therefore, it was a happy coincidence that I had bought one exceptionally large celeriac, permitting me to do only 1 steak at the time. I cooked them until golden brown/charred in spots on both sides and then transferred them to the oven – which was at 140ºCº/285ºF – to keep them warm and ensure that the celeriac would be cooked all the way through.
The Wafu dressing:
- ½ shallot, finely grated
- ½ thumb of ginger, finely grated
- 100ml / 3¼ oz soy sauce
- 100ml / 3¼ oz mirin rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 100ml / 3¼ oz rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 celeriac, peeled and cut into three big 2½ cm / 1″ slabs
- ground black pepper
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- sesame seeds
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- For the Wafu dressing, stir everything together and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes (it develops incredibly well over time, so I actually recommend making it at least one day ahead).
- Put the garlic in a heavy-based frying pan with the cold oil and set over medium heat to allow the garlic to fry slowly in the oil until just golden-brown.
- Remove the garlic from the pan with a slotted spoon and let it drain on kitchen paper.
- Return the frying pan with the garlic-infused oil to medium heat, then place the celeriac steaks in the oil and hit them with a few good grinds of black pepper.
- Cook on each side for 8-10 minutes or until nicely browned (and perhaps starting to blacken in places) and just cooked through.
- Drizzle over the Wafu dressing, and the sesame oil over the celeriac, and bring everything to a boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the celeriac steak to a cutting board and slice it like a regular steak.
- Serve on warmed plates and pour over the Wafu dressing. Garnish with sesame seeds, spring onion, and the fried garlic.
To my surprise, the next day, out of the fridge, it was even better! Unfortunately, Chantal had used the garlic crisps a bit too enthusiastically. Therefore, I had to resort to a store-bought wasabi/seaweed furikake mix, which usually is used as a condiment/sprinkling over rice or okonomiyaki, but is very lovely here as well.