Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jerusalem Artichoke Hunt by Leslie Anne Charles

Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes

Dried stalks (this patch started with just a handful of tubers a few years ago)

One of the many “rules” I’ve learned while gardening is that Jerusalem artichokes (a.k.a. sunchokes) don’t need to be planted. I shouldn’t have listened to my neighbor farmer who suggested I grab a couple of tubers from his field and plant them. They need no help in growing; they are now everywhere. On the good side the stalks make excellent swords for my kids, and they do grow beautifully in a space that would have been overgrown with weeds instead.

Our freshly dug bounty

Yesterday, my daughter Avita and I were digging in the garden when we discovered the joy of finding all the Jerusalem artichoke tubers. It was like Easter egg hunting in the soil. After about 10 minutes we had filled our little red bowl to overflowing — and we only grabbed about one-tenth of what’s out there. Even if we tried to take all of them, the patch would survive by the few that we couldn’t find. Avita and I found great joy in digging through the warm dirt with our hands to find the chokes.

The outdoor hose-down

Once they were washed, I sliced and roasted a cookie sheet full along with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and salt (450° for 15 to 20 minutes — better to have them crisp than soggy). When crispy, the sunchokes taste great. When soggy, not so much.

Next week I'll try my hand at making a gratin with parmesan cheese. Anyone have a good recipe they can recommend?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tried your recipe last night and they were great! They had a unique flavor, definitely worth trying.