Like the pineapple — which contains neither pine nor apple — the Jerusalem artichoke is one misnamed piece of produce. It native to North America (and is grown in Australia), but the knobby little tuber is more like a potato than anything else. Naming aside, they are quite delicious, and they deserve a place on your plate.
Photo by Skånska Matupplevelser.
According to Cook's Illustrated, cooking Jerusalem artichokes until tender gives them a creamy, sweet-potato like texture and a sweet, deep, artichoke-like flavour. They're simple to prepare, but there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for, cooking, and eating them.
- Buying: While you won't find a truly smooth Jerusalem artichoke, picking the least knobby of the bunch will make it easier to peel off their fibrous skin.
- Cooking: For the best flavour development, Cook's Illustrated recommends cutting the peeled artichokes into 2- to 3- inch pieces and cooking them over medium heat in butter until browned. Next, season with salt, pepper, and thyme, and pour in enough water to cover the 'chokes halfway. Cover and simmer until they're nice and soft, then remove the lid and let the liquid reduce into a glaze.
- Eating: Jerusalem artichokes make a great side when prepared as described above, but you can also roast them, blend them into a puree, or use them as a base for a comforting soup.
If — for some reason — you can't get past their slightly confusing name, don't worry, they have a couple of others, and can be found in markets and on menus as "sunroots," "sunchokes," and "earth apples."
Jerusalem Artichokes: Another Tasty Tuber [Cook's Illustrated]