Hay Baked Jerusalem Artichoke and Smoked Cream Salad
This recipe is dedicated to John Lawson, Abi’s dad and a Lincolnshire farmer. He sent me a couple of large bags of freshly dug Jerusalem artichokes and I found it fascinating when he told me via an e-mail ” We planted them over 20 years ago and they regrow annually full of vigour and without any attention from ourselves, no fertiliser or sprays — so easy to grow. Definitely an undervalued vegetable”, I love the story about these Sotby chokes even more.
They are rather powerful little tubers which play havoc with my digestive system but I was advised by another regular reader of the British Larder that if eaten raw it decreases the side effects. Well I do not mind, they are delicious hot or cold, cooked or raw and I love cooking with them.
Another one of Johns top choke tips is that they are delicious grated into stews, it adds a rich creamy texture and an unusually but incredibly moreish and pleasant taste, definitely one I’m going to try.
With the colder weather and nearly at the end of autumn we are still enjoying salads however they are now served warm instead of cold. John also likes chokes and leeks cooked in a white sauce, this set me thinking of how could I recreate Johns suggestions into a British Larder dish and here it is….
Hay baked Jerusalem artichokes and smoked cream. Elly our house bunny kindly let me have a handful of her hay which I then soaked in water. I smoked the boiled chokes, over the hay, in the oven with the warmed garlic infused cream in a little bowl on the side. The cream took on a light garlicky smoky flavour which is a perfect dip for the hay baked chokes. This to be accompanied with a soft boiled free range hens egg and hazelnut pickled leeks. Well not quite Johns idea of his Jerusalem artichoke special but I’m sure he will approve of this tasty starter for Christmas day.
(Sadly our beloved bunny Elly passed away this week, so I dedicate this recipe not only to John but to Elly too. John I hope you do not mind.)
- 25g hay
- 300ml cold water
- 800g Jerusalem artichokes, with skin on
- 150ml double cream
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 free range hens eggs
- 1 leek, sliced in 1/2 cm rings
- 3tsp unsalted butter
- 1tsp cider vinegar
- 5tbs hazelnut oil
- 1tsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch of sugar
- 2 slices of ciabata or sour dough bread, ripped
- Micro salad leaves
Preheat the oven to 200°C and locate a cooling rack that fits over an oven tray.
Soak the hay in the cold water for 30 minutes, drain thoroughly in a colander.
In a large saucepan cover the Jerusalem artichokes with water and add salt to the water bring to the boil and cook until the chokes are nearly tender.
Drain the chokes and peel them while they are still slightly warm, cut them in half.
Place the drained soaked hay in the bottom half of the oven tray and place the cooling rack above, arrange the chokes on top of the cooling rack.
In a small saucepan season the double cream and 1/2 garlic clove, heat gently to just before boiling and pour into a small metal bowl or oven safe dish, place the warmed cream on the cooling rack next to the chokes, cover loosely with a foil dome.
Heat the tray on the cooker until the hay starts to smoke, once smoking leave the foil covered tray in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the cream, it will look like baked set cream but once you stir it it will revert to liquid again, slightly thickened though.
Return the chokes without the foil covering to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Keep the chokes warm for serving.
While the chokes are baking in the oven prepare the hazelnut confit leeks. Slice the leek in 1/2 cm rings, wash and dry.
Make a vinaigrette with the sugar, mustard, hazelnut oil, vinegar and seasoning, heat gently in a small saucepan, do not boil just warm it through about blood temperature.
Heat a small non-stick frying pan with 1 teaspoon of butter, once it starts to foam add the sliced leek with seasoning and fry until golden brown. Transfer the golden leeks to the warmed hazelnut vinaigrette, let it infuse for at least 15 minutes.
Wipe the frying pan clean, return to the heat with the remaining butter, once it starts to foam add the ripped ciatabata bread and toast until golden, drain on kitchen paper.
Soft boil the hens eggs for 5 minutes, peel and cut them in half and season with maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Assemble the dish by tossing the smoked artichokes in a little bit of olive oil, arrange them on the plate with the pickled leeks, micro salad leaves and pour the smoked cream in a small dipping pot and place the soft boiled egg on the plate.