Jerusalem Artichokes

Are you looking for new and interesting salads – filled with taste and nutrition?  Then consider the Jerusalem Artichoke – neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke! Despite the misnomer – Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes) are delicious.

They have a nutty, refreshing taste and can be eaten in a variety of ways – raw, boiled, steamed, sauteed, mashed, baked, etc.  They can be substituted for potatoes in recipes (although the sunchoke cooking time is vastly quicker – once you can pierce the sunchoke easily, it is done).   You scrub them clean, no need for peeling.  If you are looking for them in a supermarket – they look very similar to ginger root.  You can find these at SunFresh – the produce market on Reisterstown near Subway.  If you are choosing – you will want to avoid sunchokes that are wrinkled, have soft spots, blotches or have sprouts.

Sunchokes are low in fat and high in nutritional content – they have calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, pholates, carotene among other things – and they are yummy.*

When looking to spruce up a salad you already have,  you can use sunchokes raw – just slice them (so they look like circles) and they will add crunch.  Below I give you a recipe for an Herbed Quinua salad where you steam the sunchokes.  I also use the sunchoke as an edible garnish.

As a note: in addition to adding sunchokes to salads, easy ways to make a salad more memorable is to add fresh or dried fruits, and some kind of nuts – they add crunchiness and protein.

Herbed Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • Pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 cup sliced sunchokes
  • 1 red pepper de-seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup Craisins
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh dill minced
  • Roasted Sunflower seeds

Preparation:

Place the quinoa in a large bowl; fill with cold water. Pour into a strainer, then return the quinoa to the bowl and rinse until water runs clear – if you skip this step, your quinua might be bitter. As fyi: Quinoa is coated with saponin,that gives the bitter taste unless you rinse it a couple of times.

Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and celery, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft.  Add the rinsed quinoa and stir about 4 minutes – this will give a more roasted flavor and the quinua will crackle as it’s being sauteed.

Add the vegetable broth or water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the sunchokes, red pepper, parsley and dill and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.  Add the roasted sunflower seeds after cooking, this adds crunch – it’s optional.

*The nutritional information came from the USDA’s webpage on the Jerusalem-artichoke

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl

Bracha Shor and her husband own Sweet and Good Catering – we have over 20 years of experience and are focused on exotic, gourmet, delicious food.  We offer weekly Shabbos specials and we cater events -from small parties to weddings.  Our goal is that when Sweet and Good catering is part of an event, it is more memorable, more enjoyable and filled with more simcha while presenting the food in an elegant and beautiful manner.

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