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What on earth to do with Jerusalem artichoke

No relation to artichokes, or Jerusalem for that matter. Jerusalem artichokes are related to Sunflowers. The knobbly little critters have the most spectacular nutty flavour, and can be eaten raw. But if you’re not a fan of trouser coughs, best cook them a bit

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Raw food

Wash and scrub and slice them into thin rounds. Then toss them into a salad, or just nibble them raw. They’re delicious with toasted hazelnuts or almonds and some orange segments, or dressed with orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it. Simple, yet delicious.

Roast food

Halve them lengthwise, toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss a few clementine or lemon halves, and the artichokes, into a pan and roast at 180°C/Gas 4, turning once or twice, until the knobbly roots are golden. Scatter over some herbs and a squeeze of citrus. It’s a knock-out side.

Soul food

Make soup by frying finely chopped onion in oil or butter till tender. Finely dice or slice your Jerusalem artichokes (scrub really well or peel first). Chuck them in, along with some chopped garlic. Add more oil or butter, if needed. Cook till the roots are fall-apart-tender. Add a glug of sherry or white wine, if you fancy. Top with some stock. Blend. Add more stock as needed and serve (with goats cheese and toasted nuts crumbled on top).

Fried food

For a quick fix, slice the knobbly roots about 1cm thick. Pan fry in a little olive oil or butter. If you want, you can add a little drop of booze (like brandy or sherry) for added flavour, or a drop of orange juice. Let it sizzle right down. Season. Once the roots are golden, toss in a few herbs (thyme or rosemary) and serve.t 50/50 with spuds. Peel, cube and boil both until tender. Mash with butter and a splash of milk.

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