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So I know winter is root vegetable time, but until I signed up for this CSA (which runs all year), I was not what you could call adventurous when it came to root vegetables. I love potatoes and carrots, classic, but I had never really bought and prepared some of the more "exotic" ones for myself. The CSA, however, has changed all that and my kitchen has become a festival of dirt-caked, knobbly roots: turnips, parsnips, celery root, beets, black radishes, etc.
An example of a good winter recipe around here is this potato-parsnip-carrot purée that D. made last week:
Just peel, chop and boil the root vegetables of your choice. When they're tender, drain the water and mash the vegetables with lots of butter, some milk, salt and pepper. Seriously, the only secret to good purée is butter. It may not be diet-friendly, but it's true.
This week's new root is the Jerusalem artichoke, a vegetable that I don't think I had ever tasted before, and certainly never cooked. The Jerusalem artichoke comes from North America and was first brought to European attention by Champlain when he was exploring Canada. Because of its resistance to cold and pests and how easy it is to grow, it was eaten extensively in France (and some other countries in Europe) during the Second World War and therefore has a very bad reputation here. It's seen as a rather low-life vegetable that you only eat if you're starving and cold and have nothing else. After having tasted it, I have no idea WHY it's not more popular. It tastes a lot like artichoke to me, perhaps a bit lighter, and I love artichoke. Even D. had to admit it was delicious. I served it sautéd with sage butter and with lentils on the side.
Jerusalem Artichoke with Sage Butter
7-8 Jerusalem artichokes (depending on size)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp sage (I used dried, but if you have fresh use 4-5 leaves minced)
Peel, wash and grate the Jerusalem artichokes. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the grated Jerusalem artichokes for 7-10 minutes, until soft.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and the sage and let cook 3-5 minutes, or until the shallots are tender.
Serve the Jerusalem artichokes with the sage butter drizzled generously on top.