We’re friends now, right?
After almost a year of blogging I think I can change The Bearded Gamer’s name to his actual one (which is Nick, incidentally). The alias that I adopted for my partner (and 2nd pair of eyes for this blog) is just way too long. Some of my friends in my day to day life really love this alias and to them I say: Sorry guys, I’ll still use it occasionally in context but I cannot be bothered to type it out each and every time I want to refer to Nick. The Littlest Anchovy and The Bearded Gamer are too much of a mouthful together. So henceforth, whenever I mention Nick, you know that I am referring to The Bearded Gamer.
So, Nick’s parents neighbour gave Nick’s dad (see why I got rid of the alias?) a big bag of Jerusalem Artichokes*. Nick’s dad, in turn, gave them to me: Anna, The Littlest Anchovy. He gave them to me because he knows how much I get a kick out of bags of things that grow in dirt. He also knows how much I get a kick out of working out what to make with them.
The only time I have ever had Jerusalem artichokes was when (forever ago) my Dad brought some home and announced that he was going to make soup with them as he had spotted a recipe in the Sunday papers. I remember helping him peel them which was no mean feat when you have to negotiate all those little lumps and bumps. He boiled them up in some stock and other things and then topped the soup with a couple of strips of crispy prosciutto – good one, Dad.
With this bag of J-chokes (I’m changing names all over the place today) I decided to roast them and make them part of a warm, autumnal salad. A bonus for getting them fresh out of the ground is that the skin was so tender; there was no need to peel them. There were a few small green tinges here and there and after checking this out online I learnt that, like potatoes, you need to cut these out. If you have never tried a J-choke before, the way I would describe them is like a potato but with a sweet and nutty flavour. They can turn to mush as soon as you look away from them, so steaming or baking them is a great way to enjoy them if you want them to retain their shape.
This salad is a hybrid of about 15 salads that I found on the internet. All the components (especially the pomegranate with the bacon and J-choke) work together flavour wise and visually it is one fine looking salad.
So, why not give this salad a go? Especially if you happen upon a bag of things that grow in the ground and you realise that what you have are nubbly, earthy J-chokes (patent pending).
* Also known as Sunchokes (S-chokes)
Warm Jerusalem Artichoke Salad
Apologies for the approximate measurements
For the salad
· Approximately 500g of Jerusalem artichokes/Sunchokes – washed, and sliced into bite size chunks
· 1 head radicchio – washed and roughly chopped
· Approximately 200 g green beans – ends trimmed, cut in half and blanched
· 300g speck- diced
· Approximately ¾ cup fresh sage- roughly torn
· Seeds from 1 pomegranate
· Approximately 1 ½ tablespoons EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
· Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180C
Place the Jerusalem artichokes on a baking sheet along with the speck and sage. Drizzle the EVOO over the top and season to taste. Back for 20 – 30 minutes, turning once, until the J-chokes are tender, and the spec is crisp.
Transfer this to a large salad bowl and add the beans and pomegranate seeds. Toss with vinaigrette and serve.
Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette
¼ cup EVOO
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients well and toss through salad.