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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Behold! The Jerusalem Artichoke!

    The Jerusalem artichoke is also called sunroot, sun choke, earth apple, or topinambour.  It is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America.  -Definition from Wikipedia

Lauren recently tried a new restaurant in town called The Manship.  This is where she discovered this heavenly tuber.  This is her account:
"I was sitting with my husband at this nice new restaurant, completely unaware that I was about to taste a life changing root vegetable.  The foods were a la carte, so we ordered duck confit, seared scallops, potatoes au gratin, and then, wanting to try something different, opted for something called "Jerusalem Artichokes".  

The root looks like a cross between a potato and ginger root. The texture is somewhere between potato and regular artichoke.  The chef had cooked it to tenderness perfection with flavors that I couldn't quite figure out (for duplicating at home).  So I began to grill the waiter.  I asked him how they cook it and wasn't satisfied with his short answer.  He tried to walk away but I was saying something like this: How do you cook it? What do you season it with? Garlic? Sea salt? What man? Please please? (maybe a slight exaggeration-but you get the idea)  Lucas had to stop me.  Once freed, our poor waiter scurried off to other tables and Lucas laughingly said: "Lauren, he's just the waiter, not the cook.  I mean, he just picks up our plates once they're ready."  I totally neglected the scallops and everything else.  I was obsessed and continued to rave about them the whole time I was eating them.  
Crazy Vegetable Lady!
During our meal, it had begun to rain outside.  But undeterred, I asked Lucas to stop by Whole Foods so I could bring home my own delectable tubers to cook.  There I was, a vegetable-obsessed woman, splashing through puddles in her suede heels to get into the market.  Unfortunately, they didn't have them. So I got wet for nothing.  However, Fresh Market did have them and I couldn't wait for Erica and I to cook our own version of the Jerusalem Artichoke!"

So without further ado, here it is, Lauren's approximation of the Jerusalem artichokes at The Manship:

Manship Chokes
Steam chokes in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water and covered with cling wrap for 5 minutes-or until completely tender.
Toss steamed chokes in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 pinches sea salt, and any spices you like…I used Tuscan seasoning blend (rosemary and sun-dried tomato) and oregano.
Throw those root-babies in a hot pan on the stove and sautee until the garlic is browned and fragrant and you just can't wait any longer to devour them.

We tested it on some men and got a "not bad" and a "this would be good with ribs".  So, I think the recipe was successful!