Jerusalem artichoke is an edible tuber whose flavor recalls that of the artichoke, even if the shape and consistency are similar to those of the potato. Its origin is uncertain, however it seems that Jerusalem artichoke comes from the western prairies of North America and Canada. In Europe, however, it spread around 1600. It is a very versatile tuber in the kitchen, even if little used; it can be eaten raw, in salads, baked, boiled, fried, sautéed or pureed. It is also a food suitable for those suffering from diabetes, as it reduces the absorption of sugars, but also for celiacs, as it is gluten-free.
So here's how to cook Jerusalem artichoke, so as to include it in our preparations to appreciate its flavor and benefits.
There are two varieties of Jerusalem artichoke; the white Jerusalem artichoke, which is on the market from the end of August, and the purple Jerusalem artichoke, which you can buy from October until spring. Jerusalem artichoke usually looks like a small lumpy potato with an irregular shape, which can be white or purple. The use of this tuber in the kitchen has been rediscovered in recent times, not only for its pleasant taste, a mix between artichoke and potato, but also for its organoleptic properties; it is in fact rich in mineral salts, vitamin A and vitamins of the group B, but also vitamins C, E and K. It is also suitable for those suffering from diabetes, as it does not contain starch and slows down the absorption of sugars and helps fight bad cholesterol. It also promotes the proper function of the intestine, thanks to inulin, also stimulating digestion. Jerusalem artichoke does not contain gluten; it is therefore a food also suitable for those suffering from celiac disease.
Before using Jerusalem artichoke for our recipes, it must be properly cleaned; wash it well under running water and, if necessary, scrub it with a brush to remove traces of soil and impurities. Dry it, peel it with a potato peeler, and cut into slices with the help of a knife. To prevent the Jerusalem artichoke from turning black, after cutting it, dip the slices in water and lemon juice or vinegar. Those who prefer can leave the peel, which is thin and digestible.
The pleasant taste of Jerusalem artichoke makes it a versatile food which can be cooked in many different ways, it is in fact suitable for many savory recipes as side dishes, to accompany meat or fish dishes, first courses, savory pies, as an ingredient for soup or for soups or dishes based on legumes. Here are various ways you can cook it.
Consuming raw Jerusalem artichoke is the best way to preserve its properties; in this case you can also eat the thin skin, which is digestible. So you just need to wash it and slice it into very thin slices or grate it and add it to a salad prepared with your favorite vegetables: tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, perhaps with the addition of dried fruit, which enhances the flavor of Jerusalem artichoke. Then season the salad with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Cooking boiled or steamed Jerusalem artichoke makes it ideal for preparing light and tasty recipes. To prepare the boiled Jerusalem artichoke, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, immerse the Jerusalem artichoke with all the peel and let it boil for about 15 minutes. Once warm, peel it and use it to prepare a puree, adding milk, butter and salt, or season it as you wish or use it in a sauce to season pasta. For steam cooking, cut the Jerusalem artichoke in regular pieces, arrange them inside the steamer and cook for a quarter of an hour.
Jerusalem artichokes are also excellent in a pan; to prepare them fried, after washing and drying them, cut them into thin slices and fry in plenty of hot seed oil until golden brown. Alternatively, you can prepare the sautéed Jerusalem artichokes; once cut into slices, brown them over high heat, add salt and pepper and blend with the white wine. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. As soon as your Jerusalem artichokes are solid, turn off the heat, add the chopped parsley and serve as a side dish.
Alternatively, you can prepare the Jerusalem artichoke in the oven, for a lighter cooking but that will allow you to make crunchy and tasty chips. Once cleaned and washed, cut it into slices, season with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and aromatic herbs, and bake in the oven for about half an hour, or until the Jerusalem artichoke slices are golden and crispy. Also in this case you can serve them as a side dish to accompany meat or fish main courses.