1 rating

Celery Root Purée with Spiced Cauliflower and Quail Eggs

Try this Celery Root Purée with Spiced Cauliflower and Quail Eggs recipe from the 'NOPI' cookbook

Ras al hanout is a North African blend of sweet and hot spices, finely ground. There’s no definitive list of the spices that are combined—hoanout means “shop” in Arabic, and every shop has its own “top-of-the-shop” variety—but it usually includes ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, and cinnamon. Ready-made varieties are widely available and generally fine, but feel free to add to them for your own top-of-the-shop creation. We find that we often need to add a bit more cinnamon when using ready-made varieties.

The celery root puree works well as an alternative to hummus. If you want to make just this to snack on before a meal. With the additional elements, though, it’s a substantial starter or even a little meal in itself, served with some warm crusty bread or white pita.

We like to fry the eggs here—the crispy edges of a fried egg work particularly well with the puree—but soft-boiled also works, if you prefer.

As with many of the dishes in this book, the main elements here can be made in advance, ready to be pu together just before serving and, in this case, before the eggs are cooked. If you make the puree the day before, just cover it with plastic wrap—actually touching the surface of the puree—to prevent its forming a skin. IT’s better at room temperature rather than fridge cold, so bring it out of the fridge at least half an hour before serving.

Reprinted with permission from NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


For the celery root purée:

  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus one tablespoon to serve
  • 1 large onion, coarsely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large celery root, peeled and cut into three-quarters inch pieces
  • 2 Cups vegetable stock
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground cilantro
  • 1/2 Teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • Coarse sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For the spiced cauliflower:

  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Teaspoons ras el hanout
  • 1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely grated
  • 2 Tablespoons finely diced preserved lemon skin
  • 3 Ounces almonds, skin on, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Ounces parsley, coarsely chopped

For the quail egg:

  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 quail eggs


For the celery root purée:

First make the celery root purée. Place olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until soft and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and bay leaves  and  cook for another  minute  before  adding the celery root. Fry for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, so  that  all  sides  are  golden  brown.  Pour  over  the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the celery root is cooked through. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves, and transfer  to a blender or food processor. Blitz  to  form  a  smooth  purée   before   adding  the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, cilantro, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and a good grind of black pepper. Set aside until ready  to serve.  (You can make this  in advance  and keep it in the fridge—see headnote.)

For the spiced cauliflower:

Put the  oil for the  spiced cauliflower into a large sauté  pan  and  place  over  medium  heat.  Add  the onion  and  sauté  for 5 minutes,  until  soft.  Add the garlic and cook for another  2 minutes, then add the ras el  hanout  and  cook  for  another  minute.  Pour over 7 tbsp/100  ml of water  and stir  through  for a minute before removing from the heat. Fold in the cauliflower, preserved lemon, almonds, half of the parsley, and 1 teaspoon  of salt and set aside to cool.

For the quail egg:

When ready to serve, divide the purée  among six plates. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon  of oil over each portion, spread  the cauliflower on top and sprinkle over the smoked paprika and remaining parsley.

To fry the  quail  eggs,  place  a  large  frying  pan over medium heat and add the oil. When hot, crack each egg  individually into the pan and fry for 30 to 60 seconds. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper, then place an egg or two on top of each portion of cauliflower and serve at once.