We have been digging the cold ground to see what has happened with the little tubers I planted in the allotment many months ago.
Well, we have LOADS of jerusalem artichokes!
I really like jerusalem artichokes, but they are almost impossible to find in supermarkets, even though you might get a few in a vegetable box delivery (if you have one, that is).
The plant is a relative of the sunflower, and in summer the shoot up really high and produce cute little bright yellow flowers.
The first part of the name comes from a transcription of the Italian word “girasole” (sunflower), misunderstood by someone for “Jerusalem”.
They are extremely easy to grow, probably easier than potatoes, you don’t have to do anything at all, just plant them and wait!
The variety I’ve chosen is called “fuseaux”, and it’s less knobbly than usual, which makes it easier to peel.
Jerusalem artichokes taste delicious, a little bit like artichoke hearts, hence the second part of their English name.
They are called “topinambur” in Italy, are little known in the northern part, and almost unknown in the south.
They tend to brown rather quickly, so you need to act fast!
After peeling, cut them in small slices or pieces, heat up some olive oil in a pan (you could use butter or margarine), toss them in the pan, stir a bit and add some salt.
Cook them at a low heat until they begin to turn golden, then turn the heat up a little and let them colour a bit more.
You want gold and not black, otherwise the flavour won’t be good!
This is my favourite way of cooking j. artichokes, because you get the softness and creaminess but also the crunchy caramelized bit, which taste unbelievable and sticks to your back teeth!
You can use them in pasta, or rice (just add them to cooked pasta or rice), or as a side dish. You can make a lovely soup or a fantastic risotto, just try them and you’ll fall in love!