Lawrence Murphy: Jerusalem artichokes are God’s gift to fish

Jerusalem artichokes and cod are a match made in heaven
Jerusalem artichokes and cod are a match made in heaven
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Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice.

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

But if you get past the lumpy exterior you will be treated to one of winters most fabulous tubers. It has a earthy, sweet and nutty flavour which helps to bring out the flavour of fish. Look for firm, unwrinkled roots when you buy but how knobbly they are doesn’t effect the taste.

Raw artichokes sliced very finely with extra virgin olive oil and a few anchovies make a delicious starter

This vegetable can be treated like a potato with the skin on but should be thoroughly scrubbed before cooking or peeled. I prefer to peel it because the skins tend to discolour the end result.

It can be roasted, boiled, fried and even eaten raw. Raw artichokes sliced very finely with extra virgin olive oil and a few anchovies make a delicious starter.

Most people will turn the tuber into a comforting soup but it makes a smooth purée perfect for white fish.

In the recipe to the right, I top the fish with breadcrumbs and roasted hazelnuts to enhance the nuttiness and give extra texture.

Grilled cod with Jerusalem artichoke purée

Ingredients

Four fillets of haddock, skinned and de­boned

250g Jerusalem artichokes

25 g butter

150 ml double cream

Sea salt

75g bread crumbs

50g chopped and roasted hazelnuts

Method

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

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

3. Put on a medium heat, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer.

4. Cook until the water has nearly all evaporated and the tubers are soft. This takes about 30 minutes.

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

6. Add the cream and cook for three minutes.

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

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

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