Sometimes I discover new things completely by accident and they turn out to be the discovery of the month (or of the year in some cases). Jerusalem artichokes were one of those discoveries that happened by accident and made me fall in love with them right away.
It happened couple of years ago, I was strolling down vegetables section of my local super market looking to buy some ginger. Unfortunately there was no ginger but I saw something that looked very similar. It was Jerusalem artichoke. Little, unsightly roots I never heard of or tasted before, they were calling me to buy them.
Since I love to try everything new, I bought some immediately. There was just one tiny little problem; I didn’t have a clue on what to do with them. I wasn’t sure were they supposed to be cooked or eaten raw, how they tasted or even what kind of vegetable they were.
After some exploring, reading and surfing I decided to make Jerusalem artichoke soup. It was a good call, we really liked it and these roots became regular guests at our table.
If you had never heard of them before, you may think they have something in common with regular artichokes but they don’t. Jerusalem artichokes are related to the sunflower, and they have nothing to with artichokes, or Jerusalem for that matter. They are native to North America.
There are lots of theories on why they’re misnamed but you can discover it all by googling so I’m not going to bored you with details.
As for the cooking, you can basically treat them as you would potatoes, you can bake them, cook them, sauté them, whatever you like. Unlike the potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes can also be eaten raw in salads.
Soup is still our favourite way to eat Jerusalem artichokes but sometimes I like to make something bit different. I taught gratin would be nice for a change, it came out really nicely so I’m sharing the recipe. Hopefully you’ll like it as much as we did. :)
500 g/17.5 oz Jerusalem artichokes
200 ml/7 fl.oz sour cream
2 tablespoons chives (finely chopped)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon grated feta cheese
- Wash and peel the Jerusalem artichokes.
- In a large pot, combine artichokes with a lot of cold water and pinch of salt. Bring it to boil over heat and cook until just tender.
- Take artichokes out of the water and slice them into 1/3 inch slices.
- In another bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, chives, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/356 F; sprinkle ovenproof dish with some olive oil.
- Place a layer of artichokes in an overlapping pattern, and then pour some of the cream mixture over them. Repeat until you use all of the artichokes. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, feta cheese and some chives.
- Bake for 30 minutes and serve hot.