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jerusalem artichoke gratin

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Jerusalem artichoke gratin

Ugly little vegetables aren’t they? Neither artichokes, nor do they come from Jerusalem. Not quite as familiar as potatoes or parsnips but not trendy enough for hipsters to cherish, like sweet potatoes or yams. Impossible to peel neatly, they fall to bits when parboiled and stay tough if roasted whole from raw.

And they give you wind.

I think if they were more commonly known by one of their other names: earth apple, topinambur (that’s fittingly exotic, no?) or sunroot; if the fact that they are actually roots of a species of sunflower was better publicised; if people knew that you can make Jerusalem artichoke brandy – the poor ugly brute’s ratings would go considerably up.

I like the flavour and the taste – nutty, firmer and sweeter than spuds and not quite as starchy. This is a good suggestion to persuade anyone to try them more often: a gratin. You know – gratin anything and it will taste wonderful. But justice to the tubers – this tastes better than a parsnip gratin and not as carb-rich as potatoes dauphinoise.

jerusalem artichoke gratin

Servings: 2Time: just over an hour

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 – 4 Jerusalem artichokes, depending what size they are
  • 200ml double cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1tsp grated nutmeg
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • a small piece of soft cheese, camembert or brie, rind removed
  • a few sprigs of mint
Jerusalem atrichokes


METHOD

Wash the Jerusalem artichokes and peel them roughly – they are notoriously difficult to peel so don’t take too much trouble over it. Slice them quite thinly on a mandolin or by hand, using a very sharp knife.

Slicing artichokes for gratin

Put the cream on to boil in a small pan, add the generous seasoning of salt and pepper and the grated nutmeg. Press the garlic cloves into the cream and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Dice the streaky bacon quite fine and put in a cold skillet with a knob of butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp.

Add the cheese to the cooked down cream, mix well. Turn it off and add the chopped mint leaves.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Add the crispy bacon to the artichokes and mix in well.

Preparing jerusalem artichoke gratin

Layer the artichokes in an oven proof dish, seasoning them with salt and pepper. Pour the cream mix over the artichokes and bake for about 30 minutes until well browned and bubbly.

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