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Jerusalem Artichoke Au Gratin And Steamed Winter Vegetables With Pomegranate Molasses

Feb 7, 2011

Kapak      Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin and Steamed Vegetables

Culinary linguistics is a curious subject. Take jerusalem artichoke. In Turkey we call it "yer elmasi" which strictly translates to English as "ground apple" and to French as "pomme de terre", pomme meaning "apple", terre meaning the "ground". However, pomme de terre is the French word for potato. Their "artichaut de Jérusalem" is to us, the "pomme de terre". My curious mind restlessly wondered for long why on earth this South American root vegetable was associated with the city of Jerusalem. With brief googling I figured that the two has nothing to do with each other. Italian migrants who encountered this root vegetable in America, named it "girasol", the Italian word for tournesol, for their resemblance. "Girasol" evolved from ear to ear in time to become "jerusalem". The name artichoke was used because its taste reminded them of the original artichoke. I gather that those Italians weren't exactly gourmets at the time.  

I was desperately looking for a good simple j. artichoke recipe that can replace the only one I know and not very successful at. At home, my mother prepares them in olive oil like this and whenever I try to cook them the same way, each piece of j. artichoke magically ends up being cooked in different degrees: some fall apart with the touch of a fork, some remain hard as it is when raw. After various disappointments, my appetite for j. artichokes in olive oil faded away and I started searching for a creative recipe of my own. The first idea that came to my mind was to treat them like potatoes, since they are alike, more than with leafy artichokes, I expected the outcome to be similar too. With j. artichokes for instance, my beloved potato gratin could be equally delicious and be surprising too. Then I realized that William Sonoma thought of the idea before I did and established one such a recipe in WS Cookbook. I simplified their version, added nutmeg and cheese, for me the two most differentiating ingredients of any gratin dish. This gave me a very sophisticated way to incorporate the long neglected j. artichoke into my diet. Welcome back to my kitchen J. A..

Jerusalem Artichokes
 
Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin 
And voila my second most beloved winter's side course. By steaming, their flavor and colors don't fade away as in the alternative blanching or boiling methods which leave them watery and relatively tasteless. The genius idea is to season them with pomegranate molasses, garlic and olive oil, a sauce that renders the otherwise dull vegetables quiet appetizing. I serve them as a side dish with anything in winter not only because they are so easy to prepare, but also they brighten up the table and balance out the heavier main course. Just don't overdo the steaming, remove as soon as they are tender to the fork and season while they are still hot so they can suck in the flavors efficiently.Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Broccoli and Cauliflower    

Steamed Winter Vegetables With Pomegranate Molasses

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 200 g broccoli ,stalk skin peeled and divided into flowerets
  • 200 g brussel sprouts, bases trimmed and bruised outer leaves removed
  • 200 g cauliflower, divided into flowerets
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all vegetables in a steam basket. Steam them for 5 minutes in a regular pot or for 1 minute in a steamer. Transfer to a flat serving dish.
  2. Whisk to combine in a small bowl olive oil, pomegranate molasses, garlic and salt. Pour the sauce over the vegetables as soon as you remove them from the steamer and serve lukewarm.

Jerusalem Artichoke Gratin

serves 4

Kitchenware required:

  • 4 ramekins

Ingredients:

  • 600 g jerusalem artichokes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, 1 whole for rubbing, 1 minced
  • 100 g Parmesan or Gouda chesse, grated
  • 100 ml cream
  • a handful of parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Peel artichokes and cut them into 5 mm/0.5 inch slices. Steam them in a steamer or in a pressure cooker for 2 minutes or in a regular pot for 10 minutes.
  3. Rub the insides of ramekins with garlic clove.
  4. Combine steamed j. artichokes in a bowl with minced garlic, nutmeg, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently. Transfer them to ramekins.
  5. Distribute the cream to ramekins. Cover the surface with Parmesan or Gouda cheese.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the surface is golden brown and crusty.

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