Try these artichoke recipes this weekend

Published 12:50 am Saturday, February 21, 2015

Every winter my husband brings in a basketful of those gnarly ugly looking Jerusalem artichokes. What to do with all of them? The interesting thing is that the Jerusalem artichoke is neither from Jerusalem nor related to the artichoke—which most likely explains why food marketers changed its name to sunchoke in the 1960s after centuries of consumption in the United States. Despite its ugly appearance it remains a delicious staple ingredient in the South’s best restaurant kitchens.

The nutty and slightly sweet flavor makes it really versatile and a great match for warm, seasonal comfort dishes. You can cut them into chunks—leaving the skin intact—and toss them with garlic and olive oil before roasting and they are delicious. The secret is to keep the seasoning mild so that their delicate flavor comes through. This root vegetable can be used like a water chestnut when sliced thin on a mandolin and served raw in salads or as crudités.

Although technically in season in the South from early fall through spring, this tuber reaches its peak flavor in the winter. Choose firm sunchokes with no blemishes, sprouts, or soft spots, and store them on the counter for a week, or in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Give them a much-needed cleaning with a vegetable scrubber. Then use these recipes to discover the beauty of this unassuming kitchen star.

They are easy to grow and when you dig them ,you rarely get all the tubers so they come back the next year. They have a nice yellow, daisy-like flower in the early fall.

From “Garden and Gun” February/March 2015.

Make a Soup: I did this soup and it took less than 30 minutes and it was delicious. It is all you need for a first course for an elegant dinner or it will be plenty filling for a lunch entrée.

Sauté 2 tsp. chopped garlic and 2 tsp. ground pepper in 2 Tbsp. olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups peeled and chopped sunchokes, two cups heavy cream, and 1 cup chicken broth, and reduce until smooth. Top with 1 tsp. crème fraîche, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with chervil, parsley, or your favorite herb.


Roast this Root:

Roughly chop 2 cups rainbow carrots (I used regular carrots) and 2 cups sunchokes. Toss with 1 cup olive oil, 1 tsp. julienned fresh sage, up to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 2 tsp. each finely chopped ginger and garlic, ½ cup soy sauce, and ½ cup sweet chili sauce. Spread the seasoned vegetables evenly on sheet pan and bake at 375°F until caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes.


Bake a Quiche: The perfect comfort food for a lazy Sunday morning. You can use what you have in your fridge to swap out some of these ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix 2 cups chopped sunchokes, ½ cup Swiss cheese cubes, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme. Spread evenly over a store-bought pie shell. Whisk together

2 whole eggs, 1 cup cream, and salt and pepper to taste, then pour into pie shell. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm.

In my latest issue of “Saveur” magazine, there was a wonderful recipe for using sunchokes in pastry. I had never thought of this. These pies or pastries were originally made for miners—they could hold the pies’ thick edging with dirty hands and discard it after eating. You can eat these with clean hands and not throw away anything. This is a great pick up food.


Artichoke and Comté Pasties

Makes 6

12 oz. Jerusalem artichokes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced

12 oz. Comté cheese, thinly sliced (can be found at Whole Foods)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Flour, for dusting

1 17-oz. box frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed

1 egg, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 325°. Line the inside of a 9”x13” baking dish with parchment paper. Arrange artichokes and cheese together in two layers in dish, seasoning with salt and pepper between layers. Bake until artichokes are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 30 minutes. Let filling cool.

Increase oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry sheets until ¼” thick. Using a 6” round cutter, cut out 6 circles, reusing scraps as needed. Divide filling between centers of circles. Fold circles in half, pinch edges to seal. Transfer pasties to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg; bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.