Prolific and perennial, jerusalem artichokes are delicious roasted until chewy, then eaten whole or stirred into salads to add their nutty flavour; they also make a wicked addition to mashed potatoes – just a few will boost the flavour and nutrition considerably, bringing all of their gut bacteria-friendly antioxidant and prebiotic properties. You rarely see them in supermarkets, but they are available seasonally in good greengrocers, farm shops and via veg box schemes.
Their skins are often muddy, with a darker pink or brown colour than the flesh, which is why many people, not least chefs, feel the need to refine them by peeling and discarding the skins. But the skins are ultra-nutritious, rich in iron, inulin and vitamins. And if you like your mash skin-free, don’t fret: load them instead, much as we do potato skins.
Loaded jerusalem artichoke skins
If you feel the need to peel your jerusalem artichokes, don’t throw away the skins. Instead, cook them whole, remove the flesh to use how you like, then upcycle the skins into these fried treats loaded with your favourite toppings.
This recipe is inspired by Sat Bains, who, like many restaurant chefs, peels the artichokes to refine them. However, instead of wasting the skins, Bains created a dish to use them up for Dan Barber’s WastED event at Selfridges in 2017, where he served them fried and stuffed with charcuterie trimmings and a ketchup made from gherkin juice. I was hugely impressed by how ingenious and tasty they were.
1 jerusalem artichoke per person
Chicken or vegetable stoc
k, or water, to cover
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Lemon zest, to taste
Oil, for frying
Optional serving suggestions
, fried lardons of bacon or tempeh, melted cheese, gherkins, etc.
Simmer the jerusalem artichokes in stock or water for 25 minutes, until cooked through. Cut in half and carefully scoop out the insides with a teaspoon.
Mash and season the flesh with sea salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon zest, then use to fortify regular mashed potatoes or to “load” the skins as follows.
If you are already using the oven, brush the skins with frying oil and cook in the oven on a tray until crisp; otherwise heat a small frying pan with a generous glug of frying oil and fry the skins for five minutes, until they turn brown and go crisp – tilt the pan as they cook and spoon hot oil over the skins, which will help both to maintain their cupped shape and to cook them evenly.
Stuff the fried skins with the seasoned flesh, or indeed with any number of other fillings, from soured cream to fried lardons of tempeh or bacon, to melted cheese and the like.