roasted jerusalem artichokes with garlic {ffwd}

Gnarly Roots

I’m thinking that this October French Fridays with Dorie is running an “ugliest vegetable” pageant. Two weeks ago, it seemed clear that celery root was a clear winner, but with this week’s introduction to Jerusalem artichokes, there’s some competition! (And dare I mention that I have some kohlrabi bulbs in my fridge?)

Jerusalem artichokes are the tuber (or root) of the helianthus tuberosus, a native sunflower that grows along some of my daily dog walking routes. The sunflower provides the origin for its nickname, sunchoke. In the back of my mind, if I wasn’t able to find this vegetable in the store, I considered digging some up, but fortunately, I found some on my first try. It came from California, so not as native as down the street, but organic, and probably a little safer to eat than whatever I might have dug up from the side of the road.

This plant has been eaten as far back as the Native Americans, who taught early settlers to eat the roots as well. For me, this was the first time I’ve eaten it. The roots resemble gnarly, warty ginger roots. In fact, the cashier initially rang it up as galangal, another rhizome related to ginger. They were hard to peel because of all the bumps. I did my best, as Dorie counseled, and didn’t worry about it too much.

Raw

Raw

The preparation was simple. Jerusalem artichokes, quartered lengthwise, were tossed with slivers of garlic (done with the vegetable peeler because I was sure doing it with the mandoline would result in a hospital visit), olive oil, sprigs of thyme and rosemary, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. This roasted in the oven for 45 minutes, until tender, tossing it once halfway through.

Cooked

Cooked

The flavor was nutty and earthy, definitely reminiscent of an artichoke. They added a touch of the homemade to a meal of leftovers from a restaurant meal. Though we enjoyed this new taste, I’m not sure I’d make a point of making these again. Peeling them was a pain, and at $5 a pound, I’m not sure I like them that much more than potatoes or other root vegetables. It was fun to try something new though.

You hardly need a recipe for this, but if you want one, you’ll find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To check out what the Doristas thought, check out their links here.

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Posted on 17 October 2014, in Autumn, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Ugly veggies, ugly fish, we’re on a roll. So far I’ve enjoyed all of them so I guess that should be a lesson of some sort.

  2. Could it be a Halloween thing – scary vegetables and fish? Good thing we are moving on to baked goods and osso bucco. Osso bucco might not be photogenic, but at least it isn’t “ugly”.

    I’m glad you found the ‘chokes and worked with them. One more for the culinary bucket list. :)

  3. So interesting that yours had a nutty flavour. Mine were kind of bland (and most definitely not reminiscent of artichokes!). I see that we all had slightly different variations on what they looked like, maybe that’s it.

  4. Funny you were tempted to dig some up, because when I went to my produce person, she suggested I go out and dig them up. At the time, I didn’t even know what the plant looked like. I was lucky with an internet search and found them on e-bay.
    They were good! I’m glad I got to try them, but I don’t see me making them again. Boy, It has been an ugly month at French Fridays! Happy weekend, Betsy!

  5. I didn’t realize that they were native… assumed they were from the Middle East. I still thinking that celery root is uglier and actually easier to peel. Not worth the effort.

  6. Yeah, this has been a strange month of recipes! Thank goodness for a dessert next week :)

  7. Betsy, if we had started with all these ugly vegetables there would not be any Doristas
    around. Seriously, some of these items we have probably seen and just ignored until
    Dorie’s recipe came up.. I am hoping we can find some this week because the dish looks interesting,
    especially paired with the potatoes and garlic.
    Thank you for your good wishes, we had a wonderful anniversary.

  8. Yup. It’s ugly month – glad next week will make up for it.
    for something that is supposed to be native to where we live, this sure was a pain to find!
    Have a great weekend.

  9. I’m going to have to catch up on this one, because they won’t be showing up in the markets for some time, yet. Everyone seems to have enjoyed them, though, which is something that one or two of the prettier things we’ve made haven’t accomplished. The ugly duckling, all over again.

  10. Yep, at $5 a pound, I wouldn’t make them too often either. I couldn’t find the JAs here, but I loved the combination using plain old potatoes.

  11. thekitchenlioness

    Dear Betsy, so glad that you could find these sunchokes – they are indeed a bit of a pain to peel. We also enjoy them as soup (very nice actually) and, my personal favorite, as vegetable chips that I often add to the soup with a nice dollop of crème fraîche. It is always fun trying a new recipe or a new vegetable such as this. But I know that these tubers are not everybody´s cup of tea.
    Looking forward to all those Dorie tributes next Friday!
    Have a wonderful Sunday,
    Andrea

  12. If sunchokes are available in and around my place, I am sure I will dig some up! Lovely post!

  13. They were a pain to peel! I agree with you, I’m glad I tried them however not sure I’d pick them over other vegetables either :)

  14. I felt pretty much the same way about this one. It was fun to try though!

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