Thursday, June 28, 2007
J is for Jerusalem Artichokes
Rumour and confusion surround the Jerusalem Artichoke. Freddie was adamant he had already "done" artichokes. The thistle-like Globe Artichoke was the first vegetable he sampled for the Great Big Veg Challenge. But the Jerusalem Artichoke, as I explained to Freddie, is something entirely new. And it is badly named. It does not come from Jerusalem and it isn't an artichoke. It is actually the tuber from a type of sunflower. "It looks like a potato with warts." said Freddie. Apparently the Jerusalem Artichoke is used to insults. In the distant past, people turned away from this poor vegetable because they thought it resembled a leper's fingers.
We were more charitable. I peeled the artichokes and sliced them very thinly and doused them in a few tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice. The lemon juice keeps them from turning brown. We tried them raw. They are crisp and taste a bit like a nutty potato. Freddie and Alex were unimpressed. But it is amazing what the mention of pizza can do to raise morale. I gave them a bowl of thin slices of jerusalem artichoke covered in a little olive oil,some grated parmesan and oregano and let them get on with creating a pizza. Freddie's score was ten out of ten.