My hubby tells people that I have a ‘thing’ when it comes to ugly vegetables. I don’t. Really. I’m picky about bruised leaves/parts and I always make sure the less aesthetically pleasing bits do not end up on our plates. Nothing wrong with that right? The proof that I do not have a ‘thing’ against ugly vegetables is right here.
I mean, these things do not rate very highly on the pretty scale do they? They’re gnarly and pokey and looks very much like an ugly potato or a smooth skinned wannabe ginger. But believe it or not, they’re related to the sunflower! Poor fellas must have quite the complex with a gorgeous cousin in the family.
Despite its name, there’s no connection with Jerusalem, nor to the artichoke – although some say they’re a distant relative to the lettuce, which in turn is a relative to the artichoke. Who knows?
Much like the potato, these guys make a great roasted side dish, or baked in a gratin, or even raw as part of a salad. The jerusalem artichoke is sweet and has a similar after-taste of a water chestnut. I chanced upon a bunch of these recently – make sure they’re firm and not overly knobbly – and I roasted them with rosemary and sea salt.
Simple pleasures from an ugly tuber.
Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke with Rosemary
500g Jerusalem artichoke, ‘ugly’ bits removed, chopped into wedges (skin on or off, up to you)
good olive oil
2 stalks of rosemary, stalks removed and pines chopped up
generous pinch of sea salt
Toss the cleaned and chopped jerusalem artichoke in olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and pepper. Roast in a hot oven (about 200C) until tender, about 15-20 minutes, tossing them halfway.