I recently went to a scotch tasting and needed to bring a couple of snacks.  I am not a big scotch fan but wanted to see what would pair well with scotch.  I had read online that smokey food items go well with scotch so I thought that would be a good direction to go in for the appetizers.  The recipe I came up with was smoked celery root panna cotta.  Celery root is in season right now and I thought that would lend itself well to smoking.  I topped the panna cotta off with fried celery root and a black garlic puree.  At the party I decided to make a celery crackers to add another level of crunch and celeriac flavor (although not shown in the picture).  I think it is a great hors d' oeuvre that I will keep in my repertoire of recipes.  Here is the recipe

Smoked Celery Panna Cotta

285 g of celery root peeled and medium diced

3 cups of milk

1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2

5 tsp of gelatin (beef)

Salt to taste

 

Black Garlic Puree (Gel)

2 black garlic bulbs peeled 

2 cups of water

1 tsp of agar

 

Celery Cracker (not shown in picture, optional)

1 1/2 cup of ap flour

1/2 cup of water

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of celery salt

1 tsp of celery seeds

1 tbsp of sesame seeds

1 tbsp of poppy seeds

 

Garnish

1/4 cup of minced celery

1/4 cup of celery leaves and flowers

1/2 cup of fried celery root

 

For the Celeriac Panna Cotta

Take the 285 g of celery root and place in a stove top smoker with cherry, hickory, and mesquite wood chips.  Smoke for 4 minutes on medium high heat and then turn off the heat.  You can let the celery root stay in the smoker to few minutes to continue to absorb the smoke.  Take a half cup of milk and bloom the gelatin.  Then place the remaining milk, half and half and a tsp of salt in a pot along with the smoked celery root. Bring the pot to a simmer and cook on medium low heat until the celery root is tender ( about 20 minutes). Make sure you stir to prevent it from burning.  Then transfer everything to a vita mix.  Puree until smooth and then pour about a 1 cup of the puree in with the bloomed gelatin.  Stir well and then add the remainder of the puree with the gelatin mixture until all is combined.  Season with salt and place in a shallow baking dish or sheet pan to cool in the refrigerator.

 

To make the black garlic puree (gel)

Simple add black garlic, water, and pinch of salt to a pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Then blend with a hand immersion blender.  Place it back on the burner and stir in your agar.  Cook for 5 minutes and then pour into a shallow dish to cool in the refrigerator.  Once cooled and gelled, take a knife and cut into squares.  Place the squares into the vita mix and blend until smooth.  Then place in a squirt bottle for later.

 

For the fried celery root.

Take the left over scraps of the celery root if you have any or take a cup of chopped celery root.  Combine it with 2 cup of water in a food processor.  Puree until you have a mixture kind of like wet sand or until the celery root has been chopped into tiny pieces.  Then strain out all of the water making sure you squeeze the celery root.  Place on a paper towel to absorb any excess water.  Meanwhile take small pot filled with 2 cup of vegetable oil for frying.  Bring the oil to 335 degrees and then pour in your celery root.  Fry until golden brown.  I just strain out the whole pot of oil with a fine mesh strainer into a metal bowl and this catches all of the celery root in the strainer so there is no loss and keeps the oil in the metal bowl which won't hurt anything.  Then pour the celery root from the strainer onto a paper towel and season with salt.  Save the oil for another use once cooled.  

For the cracker ( not shown in picture, optional)

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

If you don't want to serve the panna cotta on a spoon like in the picture the alternative I did was to serve it on a cracker.  In a bowl combine flour and all the spices.  In a measuring cup add water and olive oil.  Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture and combine until a smooth dough is formed.  Cover and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.  Then using a pasta machine roll out the dough until you have reach the thickness desired of the your cracker.  Take a small cookie cutter and cut out little rounds of the cracker.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Then place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.  Take out and cool

To bring all together is easy.

Take a small round mold and cut out small rounds of the panna cotta.  Then place on a spoon or on top of your cracker.  Take a small dollop of black garlic gel in the center of the panna cotta.  Finish with a little minced celery, fried celery root, celery leaves and flowers.  Serve and enjoy!

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