Tuesday, 1 December 2009
You might be forgiven for thinking that the above vegetable is some wierd alien species of potato! You would be in fact wrong, for it is not a potato at all, but a wonderful delicacy known as the Jerusalem Artichoke.
What's that you say??? Looks nothing like an artichoke! Well, that would be because they are two completely dissimilar vegetables and plants. One (the regularArtichoke) is a thistle type flower of a plant, and the other is the tuberous root of a particular species of sunflower. Often called sunchokes or sun roots, and even earth apples, these are one of my favourite vegetables . . . cooked into beautifully rich winter soups, mashed and souffled, or layered in casseroles and gratins.
They do have one drawback though . . .
Not to be indelicate, but . . . they can create a lot of . . . *ahem* . . . shall we say . . . wind . . . for some people who eat them . . .
I do make a wonderfully delicious Jerusalem Artichoke and Lentil soup, which creates somewhat of a double dose of the . . . *ahem* . . . self same problem, but . . . is well worth the consequences of eating it, as it is soooo delicious!!!
Here I've combined them with another of my favourite vegetables, parsnips . . . and created a delicious gratin . . . not to be missed!
I think you will love this. It goes wonderfully with chicken or fish and even pork.
Oh heck . . . it goes wonderfully with anything, and even makes a delicious vegetarian main option, as long as you use a vegetarian cheese.
Enjoy! We sure did! No matter the . . . ummm . . . consequences . . .
*Jerusalem Artichoke and Parsnip Gratin*
Two of my favourite vegetables combined in a tasty Gratin. What more could you ask for?
500g of parsnips, peeled and sliced
500g Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled and dropped into acidulated water
(water with some lemon or vinegar added to help prevent them from browning)
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed
5 to 6 stalks of fresh thyme
2 TBS butter
2 TBS grainy mustard
4 TBS grated gruyere cheese, divided
100ml white wine
250ml double cream
salt and pepper to taste
Parboil the parsnips in lightly salted water for about 8 minutes, then drain well and set aside. Do the same with the artichokes, cooking them for about 15 minutes. Drain well and then slice the same thickness as the parsnips.
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Place the garlic into a saucepan along with the butter. Heat over low heat until the garlic becomes very fragrant and soft. Add the thyme, mustard and white wine. Heat gently and then whisk 2 TBS of the gruyere cheese.
Butter a shallow gratin dish. Layer the blanched and sliced vegetables in the dish, seasoning with some salt and pepper. Pour the wine mixture over top and give the dish a bit of a shake to distribute it evenly. Drizzle the double cream over top. Cover tightly and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the remaining TBS of gruyere on top and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered or until the vegetables are completely tender and the dish has become golden brown on top.