oupChris from Mele Cotte is our host for this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging. This week I'm looking at a vegetable with a most confusing name.
It may look a little like ginger but it is in fact Jerusalem Artichoke. It has no connection to Jerusalem nor is it part of the artichoke family. It is actually a native plant of North America and a member of the sunflower family - it is also known as Sunchoke or Topinambur.
Nutritionally Jerusalem Artichokes contain Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, Folate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin and Thiamine along with essential minerals that include Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, and Zinc.
When selecting Jerusalem Artichokes look for those that are plump and unblemished, avoid those that look to be dried out or limp.
There are many ways to use them and unlike potatoes they can be eaten raw. They do have quite a distinctive taste and if you are unsure about them, try adding a couple to a favourite potato dish. They can be roasted, boiled, mashed, fried, indeed they are a very versatile.
I've opted to make a soup as I want to focus on their taste. To a base of leek and garlic I've simmered Jerusalem artichokes in milk rather than stock, to give a more creamy result without actually needing to add cream.
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
1 leek, diced finely
1 garlic clove, sliced finely
300 grams Jerusalem Artichokes
salt and freshly ground white pepper
Heat a little oil and butter in a saucepan over a low heat - when the butter has melted add the leek and garlic and sauté very slowly for a few minutes. The aim is just to soften the leek and garlic without colouring.
Wash the Jerusalem Artichokes well - you can very sparingly peel them but it's not necessary as I will be straining the soup after it's blended for a smoother result and this should remove any excess peel. Cut them into small chunks and add them to the softened leek mixture.
Toss through and cook for a couple of minutes before adding enough milk to cover them completely.
Simmer until they have softened. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
If the soup seems too thick you can add a little more milk and simmer until it reaches serving temperature.
The soup has a most interesting smoky taste and to complement this I matched it to a "cheese biscuit" made from grated Sardinia Pecorino.
The biscuit is simply made by forming rough circles of grated Pecorino onto baking paper and then placing them under the grill to melt and brown. Once they are done to your liking you let them cool on the paper until they are firm enough to lift off.
Tagged with Weekend Herb Blogging