Monday, March 30, 2009

Jerusalem Artichokes Gratin

I am one of simple tastes and a fan of artichokes, even though I do not buy them often. Their look creeps me out a little, especially if you can find them as nature intended, with all of their scary thorns intact. My mum used to buy them like that when I was a child and would use thick Marigolds to peel them. Jerusalem artichokes are a different breed entirely, even though they still retain a distinctively artichoke taste. They are knobbly things that you can cook skin-on; they taste nutty and are particularly nice when thinly sliced and added to salads. Still, my favourite way to cook them is the following one, double-quick and double-tasty, it doesn’t even get the stove dirty. And don't be put off by the humble-looking view below; this is seriously good.

6 Jerusalem artichokes
4 tablespoons of small black olives, in oil
grated Parmesan

Wash the artichokes well and slice thinly. Throw into the waiting oven tray with the olives and their oil. Shake the tray well, grate the cheese on top (generously!) and cook for 30 minutes.

I should specify that it’s really the olives that make this dish. Buy cheapish, tasteless supermarket black gums at your peril on this one... I buy my olives from a Greek guy at a local farmers’ market and so should you if at all possible (and get some feta cheese too. Buy feta from a Greek and you will never buy from the supermarket again).
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