Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jerusalem artichokes. aka Fartichokes

Hi all, I harvested my Jerusalem artichokes on Sunday just gone and from three corms about the size of your thumb this is what I harvested.
Apart from planting them into some compost enriched soil, back in August, I didn't do a thing to them.
Definitely one for the easy to grow part of the veggie garden.

I then went off to work Sunday night and because it can be a slow night at times I buy the Queensland Sunday paper The Sunday Mail to help me through the night.

Well you could've knocked me down with a feather because in the event section of the paper under the Dining In sub-section was a whole page devoted to the Jerusalem artichoke plus a recipe for Jerusalem artichoke soup with chestnuts (see below).

This article is written by Matt Moran who is co-owner/chef of ARIA Restaurant. Sydney.

Titled, What lies beneath, Matt goes on to say

SOME names have no mystery.
What you hear is what you get. Others are a little misleading.

The Jerusalem artichoke, for example, has nothing to do with

Jerusalem, nor is it an artichoke. It is thought the name came about as a corruption of the Italian word girasole, meaning sunflower, to which pendulum artichokes are related.

What it is, though, is an under- appreciated knobbly little tuber (stay with me, it gets better) with sweet earthy, nutty flesh, and a great vegetable to add to your repertoire in the cooler months.

You'll find and them trickling into greengrocers about now, and they'll hit full throttle between May and October, plenty of time to become well acquainted.

Jerusalem artichokes look a little like ginger, with their knobbly shape and light brown skin and have crisp white flesh similar in texture to a water chestnut.

You need to look out for tubers which are firm and store them as you would a potato, in a cool, dark, dry place, for up to a week.

My tip is to buy more than you need, as quite a bit can be lost in the peeling. Newer varieties are less knobbly, which makes peeling them a much simpler task than in the past.

Cut away the largest bumps before you start to make the job easier, and have a bowl of acidulated water to hand (squeeze a lemon into cold water), as the flesh colours very quickly once exposed to air.

They're a unique vegetable in that although they're a carbohydrate, they contain no starch.

However. the type of carbohydrate they do contain can't be broken down by any human enzymes, and the undigested carbohydrates pass into the gut intact.

Delicately put they're renowned for creating a lot of gas!(aka Fartichokes) This, though, is no reason not to try them. Just make sure you are - ahem - comfortable with the company you keep the day after eating. (Honestly, this effect isn't universal, but makes this vegetable the subject of much hilarity).

Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked like potato, but their flesh becomes much softer. They can be boiled, but steaming is better as it prevents them becoming water-logged.

From there it's a cinch to turn them into a gorgeous, silky puree, perfect to serve with pan-seared scallops or roast barramundi.

I also really like them roasted, which brings out their nuttiness. Or turn them into a velvety soup like I have here (see below). Roast chestnuts bring complexity, while crisp slivers of Jerusalem artichoke chips and pancetta add up to one big bowl of autumnal bliss.

Jerusalem, artichoke

soup with chestnuts

Vegetable oil, for frying

1kg Jerusalem artichokes,


500g chestnuts

50g butter

1 brown onion, diced

Salt and pepper

1 liter chicken stock

100g flat pancetta

Olive oil, for frying

2 teaspoons-continental

Parsley, chopped

Pre-heat a deep-fryer to 160C and

pre-heat the oven to 160C.

To prepare the artichoke crisps,

thinly slice 2 of the artichokes

using a mandolin. Carefully place

the artichoke slices into the

vegetable oil heated in the deep

fryer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes

until golden brown. Remove from

oil and place on paper towel to

drain. Season with salt, then leave

until required.

To prepare the chestnuts, make a cross in each of

the chestnuts using a sharp knife.

Place in the oven on a tray for 15

minutes. Remove from the oven,

then peel away their shell while

the chestnuts are still hot.

To prepare the soup, melt the

butter in a saucepan. Add the

onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes

until soft and translucent being

careful not to allow them to gain

any colour as this will change the

soup's flavour.

Chop the remaining artichokes

and add to the onion.

Season with a little salt

and pepper, then cook for a

further 5 minutes. Add the peeled,

baked chestnuts, reserving a few

to be used as a garnish. Add the

chicken stock and bring to the

boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer

and cook for 20 minutes. Pour the

soup into a blender and puree for

2 minutes until the soup has a

silky, smooth texture. Pour the

soup back into the saucepan and

bring back to to boil. Check for


Cut the pancetta into small

lardons Heat a little olive oil in a

fry pan and when hot, add in the

pancetta. Cook until crispy.

To serve, ladle the soup into 6

bowls. Garnish with the artichoke

crisps, crispy pancetta and

parsley. Break the remaining

chestnuts into pieces and

crumble over soup. Serves 6.


Rest is not idleness said...

Ah, (f)artichokes, I love them, mainly as soup or roasted, but they do not love me, so when I cook them, we do not go out anywhere. They don't affect my husband though.

tina said...

Ha! This is funny. I am very glad they tasted quite good. I'd love to taste them someday. They are very good growers here but I've been warned that once they are planted, you can never get rid of them. I am a bit scared to plant them, though I should not be since I have plenty of plants I cannot get rid of! Maybe my friends will share. Sound need!

Stewart said...

Hi Pip, They certainly have a reputation.

Hi Tina, The main problem is that when you harvest make sure you don't leave any corms in the soil no matter how small they are. Then again if any do shoot in the spring they are easy to pull out. The foliage part of the plant can grow up to 3 mts but is very attractive in a small sunflower way.

Anonymous said...

hello there thanks for your grat post, as usual ((o:

Anonymous said...

problem is these really do make me fart for a whole day, but I guess I like that sometimes.

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