Celery Cream with Caramelized Grapes and Crispy Quinoa

When a recipe refers to neutral oil as an ingredient, it most often takes sunflower seed or grapeseed oils as examples. Until recently, I preferred using a perfectly neutral grapeseed oil for making my green herb oils, because it never interfered at all with the herb’s original flavor. A few weeks ago a friend of mine gave me a bottle of her very special grapeseed oil, which already blew my mind just after screwing off the plug when I smelled its scent. It has a very strong (and addictive) nutty scent (somewhat similar to walnut) mixed with an aged red wine perfume. The flavor of this grapeseed oil is extremely rich and combines (similarly to its scent) the aromas of red wine, grapes and nuts. Due to its quite unique flavor, I used it as an unusual “spice” in the appetizer below, featuring ingredients from the current autumn season.

Celery Cream with Caramelized Grapes and Crispy Quinoa

Instead of using butter, I added grapeseed oil to the celery root cream. In fact, the grapeseed oil was so intense, I used only a spoonful of it and added a somewhat buttery canola oil to the puree as well. Though celery root and grapes are a great pairing already on their own, the red wine aroma of the grapeseed oil further enhanced the connection and created a kind of bond between the two main ingredients. I caramelized the grapes shortly in a hot pan and deglazed it with some dry vermouth. I purposely used grapes with seeds, because they added some crispness to the appetizer. Unfortunately, chewing a few grapeseeds usually create a kind of “dry” mouthfeel. To mask this unpleasant dryness, I fried some cooked and dried quinoa until golden brown. Quinoa, which has been prepared this way, has the exact same crispy texture as grapeseeds (so the guests actually won’t even notice the seeds in the grapes), but without the dry mouthfeel. At last I sprinkled the small glasses with some walnut oil, so that each bite would have a different kind of nutty flavor in the background.


4 thoughts on “Celery Cream with Caramelized Grapes and Crispy Quinoa

  1. Angelika

    Good Morning Robert, so nice to see you back blogging again! – And what a great straight-foward recipe once again! I like the way how you describe the “mouth-feel”, definitely ingenious 🙂

    You have inspired me in a lot of different ways. One of them is to use exclusively local fish, especially trout (“Schwarzauer Bergforelle”, originating where are first class Viennese tap water comes from….) in the future – starting with my next menu dedicated to France. This is why I browsed and studied a lot of your recipes yesterday. I will let you know what this will lead to ;-)!

    And you have made me curious as for buckwheat and quinoa – I will have to try out these ingredients which are entirely new to me out, soon-to-be!

    Kind regards from an early Viennese morning and an already steaming kitchen,

  2. Robert Post author

    Thank you, Angelika! It’s nice to hear (and I’m proud) that I’ve inspired you in several ways. Trout – like any fish – is very versatile. If you can source it locally from such great waters, it would be a pity not to cook with this wonderful fish. I’m curious about your ideas and new dishes with trout, buckwheat and quinoa 😉

  3. Robert Post author

    Thank you! Well, as explained in the post, there are huge differences among grapeseed oils. Neutral grapeseed oils tend to have no color at all, while flavorful grapeseed oils are green or even dark green. Another good indicator is the scent of the oil. Probably, you’ll have to look for flavorful grapeseed oils in special deli shops.

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