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Posts Tagged ‘sunchoke’

This Saturday I took my very last walk down to the great little market I’ve grown accustomed to visiting each week here in Montréal. Although I don’t leave for another two-and-a-half weeks, my week-ends are already completely booked and elsewhere.

As I walked past the beautiful trees over the layers of colourful leaves on the ground, I caught my last few glimpses of summertime.

 

At the market, I indulged in my last bag of ultra-squeaky goat’s cheese curd, the very best almond-chocolate croissant that the baker had, and discovered a great surprise: my first sunchokes (aka jerusalem artichokes) of the year!

Although I’m trying to empty my fridge, I picked up the four most beautiful sunchokes that were covered in soil, knowing I’d be having a treat for supper that night. Using sunchokes in this recipe gives the latkes a nuttier flavour, which comes from their high inulin content. Inulin is quite popular these days as a prebiotic [oops, the nutritional scientist in me just couldn’t resist – sorry!].

Ingredients – serves 4 as a side or lunch

Latkes

-1 pound jerusalem artichokes (approximately 6), washed, peeled, and grated
-1 carrot, washed and grated
-1 large potato, washed, peeled, and grated
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-1/4 onion, finely minced
-1/4 + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
-1/4 tsp salt
-dash pepper
-1 Tbsp butter or canola oil

Possible accompaniments

Applesauce (preferably not too spiced)
-Sour cream

Directions

Wash and grate all veggies. Combine all vegetables in a medium-sized bowl, mix in the flour, salt and pepper, and then mix well. Add the egg, and continue to stir until the mixture is evenly coated.

Heat the oil or butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place flattened tablespoonfuls in the pan, and press gently. Fry until golden, approximately 4 minutes. Turn the latkes over, and repeat.

Serve hot with applesauce and/or sour cream.

Bon appétit!

-Sitelle

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I’m sure many people are thinking, what in the world are sunchokes?  They’re also called Jerusalem artichokes.  Still doesn’t ring a bell?  That’s because they’re a little-known tuber.  My guess is they’re going to be making their come-back, because they store high amounts of inulin, a prebiotic that the market is becoming quite enamoured with these days.  They’re also beautiful flowering garden plants, although if left to their own devices they can become nuisances because they are quite hardy and can be difficult to get rid of.  They are in the sunflower family, and are, contrary to their names, not related to artichokes at all, aside from the fact they both contain high amounts of inulin. That said, when roasted or in soup, they do taste quite similar to artichokes and are a real treat. They can be found in many places in Canada – even the Don Valley Brickworks in Toronto!

My favourite vegetable and fruit market in Kensington Market has had these in stock for the last month or so, and I’ve been dying to try making this soup from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table (p 76).  Finally, everything aligned itself tonight, allowing me to have a delicious warm soup with buttery bread while I write my end of semester essays.

Ingredients – 4 servings

The Soup

-2 Tbsp butter
-1 leek, white and light green parts, washed and finely chopped
-1 onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
-1 celery stalk, finely sliced
-1 lb sunchokes, washed and peeled (if you want – they’re fine unpeeled but just make sure to wash them well)
-3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken) + 1 cup water
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 dollop of crême fraiche or sour cream per bowl (optional)

The parsley coulis

-1 cup packed parsley leaves, washed
-2-3 Tbsp olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop up the leek, onion, garlic, and celery.  Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed large pot over medium heat.  Add the chopped veggies, and stir until they are coated in butter.  Let them melt for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and reducing the heat to medium-low so that they do not brown. Meanwhile, wash the sunchokes and peel them if you want to.  Dice them into coarse 1/2-1 inch cubes.  Throw them into the pot with the leek and onion mixture, and stir to coat them.  Cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At this point, begin making the coulis.  To make this, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil while trimming the leaves and washing them.  Prepare a bowl of ice water and a strainer.  Blanch the parsley for 30 seconds in the boiling water, and then strain and immediately place them in the ice water for another 30 or so seconds. This makes them a vivid green. Place them in a food processor/mortar and pestle/hand blender with the oil and salt and pepper, and whirl away until you have a green, green paste.

Now, add the stock and the water to the soup.  Add a little more liquid if you want to leave it uncovered.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.

When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls, and swirl in a spoonful of parsley and cream.

-Sitelle

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