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French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic

Roasted sunchokes for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is a simple roasted vegetable dish – Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic.

Let’s talk about the name shall we?  It’s actually not an artichoke (no relation, either) and did not come from Jerusalem.  According the the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs it’s thought the name is a corruption of the Italian “Griasole Articiocco,” meaning sunflower artichoke. It’s also called a sunchoke or sunroot, is a member of the sunflower family and native to North America. The flowers are sunflower-like.  It grows wild along river and stream banks, and in meadows and valleys throughout Ontario. It’s been cultivated as an ornamental as well as for its edible tubers.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website taught me quite a bit about this odd-looking vegetable that you can’t always find in the store/ market.   Apparently, most farmers in Ontario consider Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) to be a nuisance even though it is sold as a specialty vegetable!  Appreciated by the early settlers in North America as a readily available source of food, their gardens became an important factor in the spread of the plant.   It’s been recommended as forage plant, a feed for hogs, and as a leafy vegetable and is also a potential source for sugar and alcohol production, though the OMAFRA says it has not been cultivated widely in North America. Hence I guess why you don’t often see it on sale.

Until the day I was making this dish, I couldn’t find it anywhere and then Neil struck the jackpot at our local organic produce store which often carries more unusual items.

Jerusalem Artichoke on eatlivetravelwrite.com(Jerusalem artichoke image via Shutterstock)

These are a starchy vegetable – sometimes used as a substitute for potatoes but able to be eaten (thinly sliced) raw as well – Gourmet Sleuth says you can use jicama or water chestnuts if you can’t find Jerusalem artichokes although potatoes, parsnips and turnips were going to be my go-to if I couldn’t find these this week.

In the end, I simply washed them, peeled them as best I could and roasted with garlic, rosemary and olive oil.  Oh and some lemon zest for good measure!  We served this alongside many other side dishes for our Thanksgiving meal.

Dorie Greenspan Roasted sunchokes for French Fridays with Dorie on eatlivetravelwrite.comThese were ok, nothing special.  No distinctive flavour to speak of but a pleasant side dish. I wouldn’t seek out Jerusalem artichokes again but if I do see them, at least I’ll know what to do with them!  And hey, I learned something this week about a vegetable I didn’t really know much about. So, score!

Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke with Garlic on page 353 of Around my French Table.

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14 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic

  1. Adriana October 17, 2014 at 07:52 #

    The flecks of lemon zest look pretty. I’m happy you found the sunchokes, plus all that bounty of information from Ontario. I really liked the version I pulled off with chayote, a squash that on paper seems to be similar to the Jerusalem artichokes.

  2. Rose October 17, 2014 at 08:02 #

    This was a new one for me too. Mine looked quite a bit different than yours in the raw state, skinier with more of a pinkish-purple hue. And the taste, while mild, was distinct and pleasant. Your post makes me think that there might be a different variety on this side of the Atlantic. Either that or my translation into German just failed miserably and I bought the wrong thing alltogether:-)

    And hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebrations. I’m already looking forward to my germanized american version in another month.

  3. EmilyC October 17, 2014 at 12:54 #

    A highly informative post on JA. I will be surprised if I ever find it over at my location! btw I commented at your JO’s link and here is the link to JO’s recipes I made: http://emilycookingforays.blogspot.com/search?q=jamie+oliver

  4. Cakelaw October 17, 2014 at 18:07 #

    Lucky you for finding these. They aren’t common here and I knew my chances of finding them were low. This was good with poratoes too. Loved all ghe Jerusalem artichoke facts – thanks!

  5. Kathy October 17, 2014 at 19:19 #

    Totally a new experience for me too! I agree, they were good, but I wouldn’t seek them out again.
    I did plant a few. I’d like to see if I could get them to grow along my wooded area.
    Yours look delicious, and I’m sure a nice addition to your Thanksgiving feast! Love the flecks of lemon in your dish!

  6. Diane Balch October 17, 2014 at 20:00 #

    Interesting history and so funny about the name. I was thinking they were from the Middle East. We won’t be having them again because they did a number on my stomach. I heard raw is even worse if you are sensitive to them.
    By the way Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. Betsy October 17, 2014 at 21:44 #

    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving, Mardi. This was a perfect side dish for a festive meal, though I guess it didn’t live up to expectations. I liked the nutty flavor, but it sounds like yours didn’t have much taste. Oh well, we tried it, right?

  8. Nana October 18, 2014 at 10:41 #

    Even though I did not find them this week, I had to google to see what they looked like. After
    seeing some of the posts I hope I will be able to try them. Mardi, just wanted to say Thank you
    for your thoughts for our anniversary. Between Tricia and I, we had a week of celebrations.

  9. Cher October 18, 2014 at 13:13 #

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

    These were a sourcing challenge for sure, but we enjoyed them.

  10. Teresa October 18, 2014 at 15:58 #

    Great post, Mardi. They looked like they made a pretty dish for your holiday table, even if they weren’t that flavourful. I wonder if it’s because they’re said to be better if they are harvested after a frost?

    • Mardi Michels October 26, 2014 at 08:44 #

      Hmmm I didn’t read that but interested to see how they fare in a soup!

  11. TheKitchenLioness October 19, 2014 at 00:15 #

    Mardi, a wonderful looking presentation – glad you found these lovely tubers and prepared them as part of your Thanksgiving spread!

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