Sunday, 7 July 2013

Soup Sunday: Jerusalem artichoke and truffles

I am genetically programmed to fall for anything linked with the Holy City and Jerusalem artichoke (which isn't actually in any way related to the other artichoke) is no exception. 

According to the old wise men at Wikipedia its name is a result of misunderstanding though. Apparently it's nothing more than a corrupted translation of the Italian original name "girasole". That on the other hand refers to sunflower which these lovely lumps are related to (and have the flowers to prove it!)

Its knobbly appearance isn't going to make it anybody go ooooh. The taste on the other hand sure will - it is so elegant and unique. This would make a nice and slightly more grown-up version of mashed potatos, especially topped with some mushrooms fried in butter and garlic. 

My first exposure to this vegetable royalty came in an upscale restaurant in Helsinki called Grotesk, where it was also paired with truffle oil, which compliments Jerusalem artichoke's flavour perfectly. Among the foodies there are many opinions concerning truffle oil, but I've got some and I'm not afraid to use it. I absolutely love it in my carpaccio! Though obviously I only use it when me and my truffle-sourcing pig haven't been able to locate any fresh truffles in my backyard...

Today (perhaps as a result of all those princess dreams?) I decided to get a bit giddy and, in addition to truffle oil, use some of the preserved truffles I've bought in Spain.  Good job I googled them first. Apparently there's no point using them straight out of the jar, because they truly have as much flavour as a piece of cardboard. Instructions advised to slice with the truffle slicer (damn. Yet another gadget my kitchen is missing!) and then fry the shavings in a bit of oil (preferably truffle oil) in order to release aromas. But at the end of the day they won't have a patch on the fresh variety - the texture is strangely rubbery and the taste... it's still like cardboard box. Soaked in truffle oil.

For 2

500 g Jerusalem artichokes
1 potato
1 onion
4-5 dl chicken or vegetable stock
0,5 dl cream
pinch of nutmeg
lemon juice
salt, pepper
truffle oil
(parsley or chives)

Peel potato and Jerusalem artichokes. Cunt into chunks. Sauté them and sliced onion in some butter. Then add stock and cook over moderate heat until veggies are done. Blizz in a blender, add more liquid if needed and pour back into the pot. Add cream, a small dash of lemon juice and the nutmeg. Season and serve with a dash of truffle oil (be careful - the taste is strong) and if you want, sprinkling of either chopped parsley or chives.

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