Friday, November 13, 2009

Name That Herb

Jerusalem Artichoke
Thanks to Simon, who dropped off these little gems. Congrats to Herrick Kimball, who knew: ..Those roots look like Jerusalem Artichokes. I have a bunch of them here. They are good sliced up raw on salads. That's the only way we have eaten them.

Some people call them Sunchokes, I guess because they look like and actually are sunflowers and the other common name, Jerusalem Artichoke is a bit confusing because many people assume that they are related to artichokes of the thistle family. In fact, Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is a native American plant. The common name may have come from the Spanish word for sunflower, girasol...Jerusalem. I don't know.
What I do know is that they are delicious and filled with energy and good food value.
I roast them with other root vegetables and have shredded them for salads as Herrick does.
This week, here's how I cooked my gift from Simon.

Jerusalem Artichoke Scallop
In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 chopped onion and 1 cup chopped mushrooms. Reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. You can add fresh or dried sage, rosemary or oregano to this as it cooks.
Meanwhile, using a mandolin or food processor, slice about 6 Jerusalem Artichoke roots, 1 carrot and 1 parsnip.
In a greased casserole dish, arrange 1/3 of the sliced artichokes, carrots and parsnip. Spread 1/2 of the onion-mushroom mixture over. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 3 tbsp flour over and pour milk into the casserole to cover the vegetables.
For this scallop, having just come back from the foodbuzz festival, I had a beautiful, triple cream Brie, which I sliced very thin and arranged half over the vegetables.

Like a true scallop, the second 1/3 of the sliced artichokes, carrots and parsnip are arranged over the brie. The remaining onion-mushroom mixture goes over that layer. More salt and pepper, flour and milk to cover the vegetables. Remaining brie and the final layer of vegetables, flour, small pieces of butter and milk to cover it all. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and bake in a 350°F oven for about 1 hour.

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