Knobbly but nutty and great with haddock

Jerusalem artichoke and haddock.

Jerusalem artichoke and haddock.

Kayra Narince 2015

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The Jerusalem artichoke is often overlooked at the vegetable shop because of its un-uniform knobbly shape.

It also suffers from another problem: not a lot of people know what it tastes like or what on earth to do with it.

However, if you get past that lumpy exterior you will be treated to one of winter’s most fabulous tubers.

It has an earthy, sweet and almost nutty flavour which really helps bring out the flavour of fish.

When you are buying look for firm, unwrinkled roots, but don’t worry about how knobbly they are – their strange appearance doesn’t affect the taste at all.

This vegetable can be treated like a potato with the skin on, but should be thoroughly scrubbed before cooking or peeled to reveal its creamy interior.

I prefer to peel it mainly because the skins tend to discolour the end result.

It can therefore be roasted, boiled, fried and I have even eaten raw Jerusalem artichokes sliced very finely with extra virgin olive oil and a few anchovies. This made a delicious starter.

Most people will turn the tuber into a comforting soup but it makes a wonderful smooth purée which matches white fish perfectly. Here we top the fish with breadcrumbs and roasted hazelnuts to help with the nuttiness and give extra texture.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk). Call 01243 377914.

RECIPE

Jerusalem artichoke and haddock

Ingredients

4 haddock fillets (skinned and de­boned)

250g Jerusalem artichokes

25 g butter

150 ml double cream

Sea salt

75g breadcrumbs

50g chopped roasted hazelnuts

Method

1. Peel and roughly chop the artichokes and place in a saucepan.

2. Just cover with water, add butter and pinch of salt.

3. Put on medium heat, bring to boil and simmer.

4. Cook until water has nearly evaporated and tubers are soft (about 30 minutes).

5. If tubers are not soft add a little more water and cook longer.

6. Add cream and cook for three minutes .

7. Liquidise tubers and cream until smooth. Keep hot while you grill fish.

8. Top fish with breadcrumbs and hazelnuts and return to grill to brown.

9. Spoon the purée into bowls and top with the grilled fish.

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