Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jerusalem Artichoke

A Jerusalem artichoke.

For many years I thought that Jerusalem artichokes were the really little artichokes. This winter, when reading about in season foods in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine, I discovered that Jerusalem artichokes are not even artichokes, but rather a type of tuber. A quick search on the internet showed that the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation with Jerusalem or with artichokes. It is related to the Sunflower family, which is probably why it is also known as a sunchoke.
So the next time I was at the market I kept my eyes open for the knobby little root. I wondered how I had missed them in the past, as many of the stalls had the Jerusalem artichoke for sale. Perhaps in the past I had mistaken them for ginger, since they are similar in appearance. I decided it was time to give them a try and picked out a couple of firm, mold free pieces.
Once home it was time to decide how to prepare my newly discovered vegetable. Since I had read that they were similar to potatoes I decided to prepare them in one of my favorite ways: thinly sliced (skin and all), drizzled with olive oil, and baked on the pizza stone. The result was a vegetable crisp. I served them in a bowl with a touch of sea salt as an appetizer. When Mark first saw them he thought they were potatoes and wanted to know where the ketchup was. I told him they weren't potatoes and to give them a try. He took a bite, and the first thing he said was "how did you do this with an artichoke?" It was true, they did taste like artichokes. My new discovery became a keeper and throughout the winter I continued to experiment with Jerusalem artichokes: baking whole, mashing, and even eating raw. They repeatedly proved to be a yummy treat. As we move into spring it is time to leave the Jerusalem artichoke behind, but we will definitely be revisiting them next year.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    I am writing to thank you for visiting my blog Anna's Adornments.
    You can buy Jerusalem artichokes in Sweden and they are a part of our "cuisine". You can peel and boil them and serve them with butter. Peeled Jerusalem artichokes miscolor quickly. My cookbook says that you should put them in water mixed with either lemon or flour to prevent this. You can use them in casseroles, stews, and soups. I usually make a milky white sauce and serve them as a side dish or mash them and make a creamy soup.
    I don't know why they are called "Jerusalem artichokes". In Swedish the name is "jordartskockor" (with two dots over the first "a").

    Best wishes
    Christina Wigren