Last weekend, while putting the garden to bed, I pulled quite a few Jerusalem artichokes. These things, which are a variety of sunflower, have edible roots—tubers—that can be cooked. If you’re like my mother, you’ll even eat them raw, like jicama, in a salad.
I have to confess that I have merely tolerated these in my garden, mostly for the flowers and the general cover they provide. They are as invasive as mint, and they have, I kid you not, marched across my garden from the neighboring one and are now between the fence and the sidewalk. That’s okay, and that’s where I pulled them and found tubers of a size that looked worth trying to cook.
While my father grew these and I knew I must have eaten them, I had no clue what to do with them, so went to the internet, where I found that they are often paired with cream and butter, as well as thyme and sage, both of which I have in abundance. There were some recipes that suggested roasting and sautéing. Some suggested peeling and others simply suggested slicing thinly. I went with peeling and cutting into inch long pieces.
I chopped some garlic and started heating it in olive oil, then I dropped the tubers and some chopped sage and thyme into a pan.
When they had begun to brown, I turned them.
Then I busied myself chopping some of the cutting celery I had taken from the garden. I added this, a dash of white wine, and covered the pan.
The result was tasty. A bit like a potato, but less starchy and with a texture more like a cooked carrot. I think these would go well with roasted winter vegetables, and I also think leaving the skin on would lend a more distinctive flavor. I’ll be paying more attention to these plants next fall!