Jerusalem artichoke basics
Sunchoke season is here. October through March is the best time to start looking in your farmer's markets for these mildly sweet root vegetables (that are not really artichokes).
Jeruselum artichokes kind of look like fresh ginger or horseradish, but lack the smell and pungent flavor. They are actually native of North America and are not related in any way to Jerusalem but they are related to sunflowers — thus the moniker "sunchoke."
Sunchokes can be eaten raw or cooked, and they make an excellent addition to fresh salads or soups because of their crisp, refreshing texture.
When choosing your Jerusalem artichokes, look for smooth skin with few blemishes or wrinkles. Be sure to scrub the outside to remove the dirt — similar to potatoes, they are grown in the ground.
Though the skin is edible, you may opt to peel them with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. Sunchokes can be tender so handle with care and store in a cool dry place. They will typically will stay fresh for one to three weeks.
Here are a few recipes featuring scrumptious little sunchokes.
Recipes with Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes
Baked Mashed Jerusalem Artichokes and Potatoes
Makes 8 servings Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 pounds Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more to dot the top Directions:
1. Fill a pot with water and add lemon juice and artichoke pieces. Bring to a boil and let cook about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
2. Combine artichokes, potatoes, and salt in the same pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook about 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place artichokes and potatoes back in pot and mash in sour cream and butter. Spoon mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish. Dot top of mixture with more butter and bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden. Serve warm alongside beef or poultry.
Fried Jerusalem Artichokes
Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, sliced 1/2-inch thick
Vegetable oil for frying
2 cups flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup beer at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 cup tomato sauce for dipping
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying Directions:
1. Cook artichokes in a large pot of boiling salted for water for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer artichokes to an ice water bath.
2. Combine 1-3/4 cups flour, baking powder, peanut oil, beer and salt in a large bowl, mixing until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites with a dash of salt until stiff peaks are made. Fold egg whites into batter. Drain artichokes and pat dry. Dust artichokes slices with the rest of the flour and then dip them into the batter.
5. Heat peanut or vegetables oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry artichoke slices for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with tomato sauce.
Makes 4 servings Ingredients:
1 lemon, cut in half
1 pound sunchokes, peeled, quartered
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 bacon slices, cooked, crumbled
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and squeeze the juice from half of the lemon into it. Add sunchokes to pot and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add juice from remaining lemon half, tomatoes, shallots, thyme, and bacon. Combine well and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.
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