Top tuber: Skye Gyngell cooks with Jerusalem artichoke

Whoever named Jerusalem artichokes was taking the rest of us for a ride – but you don't have to be in on the gag to enjoy their nutty sweetness, says Skye Gyngell

Nutty, sticky and sweet in flavour, Jerusalem artichokes grow readily in cold climates, which means they are good almost all year round. Right now, they seem a blessing, as new produce does not come into its own quite as soon as we'd like to imagine, and it is mid-April before we really begin to see a change in the veg available to us.

Despite their name, they are neither from Jerusalem nor related to other types of artichoke, but rather hail from North America and are related to the sunflower. But they produce edible tubers – and that is what is of most interest to us.

Mashed, roasted or made into soup,the consistency of Jerusalem artichokes seems somehow lighter than other root vegetables and they work well with fish and meat alike.

Skye Gyngell is head chef at Petersham Nurseries, Richmond, Surrey, tel: 020 8605 3627, petershamnurseries.com

Chicken livers with roasted artichokes and balsamic vinegar

Serves 6

400g/13oz artichokes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A splash of extra-virgin olive oil
600g/1¼lb very fresh chicken livers – look for those that are pale in colour, as their flavour is gentler
A generous knob of unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 cup of full-bodied red wine
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
6 slices of grilled bread

Scrub the artichokes well under running water. Cut into quarters and place in a saucepan of cold water. Add a good pinch of salt and place over a medium heat. Bring the water to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain in a colander.

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Toss the artichokes in a little olive oil and roast in the oven until soft, sticky and golden. Remove and set aside.

Prepare the chicken livers by removing the attached membrane. Place a pan on the stove over a high flame. Once the pan is hot, add the butter and allow it to foam. Add the chicken livers, garlic and rosemary, cook for a minute, then add the wine. Allow to bubble and reduce to almost nothing. Place the artichokes in the pan to warm through, then finish with the balsamic and a final knob of butter.

Taste and season – it is best with a good grinding of black pepper. Spoon on to warm plates and serve with the grilled bread if so desired.

Salad of artichokes, radicchio, rocket and Parmesan

Jerusalem artichokes sliced as finely as possible and served raw are nutty, crunchy and clean. The important thing is to make sure that they are very fresh, as their flesh softens as they grow older and they are then not particularly palatable. Look for small artichokes that are firm for their size.

Serves 6

A small bunch of rocket
1 head of radicchio or trevisse
The zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
The juice of half a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 firm, fresh artichokes, scrubbed clean and finely sliced
100g/3 oz aged Parmesan, sliced as thinly as possible
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 tsp crème fraîche or ricotta cheese

Wash the rocket and radicchio in a cool-water bath. Pat dry gently using a clean dishcloth. Place in a bowl and add half the lemon zest and juice. Season with a little salt and pepper and toss together gently. Arrange thoughtfully on a plate.

In the same bowl that you dressed the leaves, dress the artichokes and cheese in the same way with the remaining lemon zest and juice. Pile on top of the salad leaves and finish with the crème fraîche, or do as I sometimes do and spoon the cream on top of the leaves before adding the artichokes.

Mashed Jerusalem artichokes with scallops

This is a surprisingly good combination. Both Jerusalem artichokes and scallops are gently sweet, with flavours that balance. The artichokes can be prepared beforehand and simply heated up when you are almost ready to eat, while the scallops need to be cooked just moments before eating.

Serves 6

300g/10oz small, ripe tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A splash of extra-virgin olive oil
1kg/2lb firm, unblemished artichokes
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small bunch of marjoram, leaves only
1 tsp olive oil
18 very fresh plump scallops, muscle removed but roe still attached
A generous squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Place the tomatoes in a roasting tray and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little olive oil and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook until soft and slightly caramelised. Remove and set aside.

Scrub the artichokes thoroughly but don't peel. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and place over a medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pan. Add the olive oil and butter, a good grinding of black pepper and a little salt. Mash thoroughly with a fork. Stir in the cooked tomatoes and marjoram and set aside while you cook the scallops.

Place a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the olive oil. Season the scallops and add to the pan. Cook for a minute on both sides then finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Divide the mash between six warm plates and lay the scallops alongside. Serve while the scallops are piping-hot.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone