Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with White Truffle Oil

Just before the holidays I made my weekend trip to the Farmer's Market and came across something that was completely new to me - Jerusalem Artichokes, to be exact. Earth-toned in color, knobby and covered in dirt (the way REAL food should be!), it was definitely not the prettiest vegetable I'd ever seen. Curiosity (as usual) got the best of me as I approached the farmer selling them to ask my 21 questions (What are these!? How long is the season for them? How do you like to cook them and what do you like to eat with them!?). If I can give you one tip, it's to never be afraid to talk to the farmers and ask them any questions you have about their products (okay maybe don't actually ask them 21 questions as I'm sure they are tired enough from getting up at 5am to load their trucks and get to the market on time!). Guaranteed though, they'll be more than happy to answer your questions. Their product is like their art - hard work, time and skill brought together to produce something that they're so proud of.

So as the farmer’s telling me how he likes to eat them (raw!) the lady standing next to me was shovelling 2 lbs worth of jerusalem artichokes into her bag and enthusiastically said to us "I like to scrub em, leave the skins on and roast them with salt and pepper, they're delicious!" Somebody that excited about a tuber? That's all I needed to know. Also known as sunchokes they are a good source of iron, phosphorus and potassium. In its raw state I found them similar in texture to water chestnuts and potatoes. When cooked they have an incredible flavour I can't even describe with hints of sweetness and nuttiness. I thought anise type flavours would pair well with them so I incorporated fresh fennel and tarragon into my recipe.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with White Truffle Oil
Makes 3 litres

1 1/2 pounds Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled and sliced
1 cup leeks, small diced
l large shallot (1/4 cup), small diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup fennel, small diced (reserve fennel fronds for garnish)
¼ cup butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1L vegetable stock
1L chicken stock
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
sea salt t.t (to taste)
fresh cracked black pepper t.t (to taste)
1 cup cream (optional)
white truffle oil to finish (optional)

1. Melt butter in a large pot, add olive oil.
2. Add leeks and shallot and sweat until softened (do not allow to color/caramelize).
3. Add garlic and sweat until softened. Add jerusalem artichokes and cover with vegetable stock and chicken stock. Bring to a boil then simmer until jerusalem artichokes are
soft. Add tarragon.
4. Using a hand blender puree until smooth or puree in a blender in small batches.
5. If using cream, add, return to a boil and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
6. Ladle soup into bowls, add a few drops of truffle oil and a sprig of tarragon or fennel fronds to garnish.

*Tip* Before serving, pour hot water into bowls to warm, it makes all the difference!


Crystal - Prenatal Coach said...

Mmmm looks yummy! We just found out about Jerusalem Artichokes this year too! We love them roasted.

Laura said...

Hey Crystal!
Don't you love finding new foods? I'm going to have to try roasting them next.