Jerusalem artichokes can be prepared in numerous ways: sliced thinly and eaten raw, roasted, boiled, steamed, puréed or deep-fried. But I like baking them, skin on, like jacket potatoes. The skins both harden and become a little sticky, while the inner flesh is soft, fluffy and sweet.
Good-quality peppery olive oil and plenty of salt are really important to temper the sweetness of the cooked artichokes, and the sunflower seeds ensure it remains savoury. You don’t have to include the yoghurt, but I think its cooling nature and tang really brings everything together. It’s cracking alongside Middle Eastern-spiced lamb shanks, bacon chops, chargrilled quail, or roast peppers and goat’s cheese. Ensure you’ve another side dish on hand, though – the quantities here provide only 2–3 artichokes per portion, as eating too many of these tubers has an undesirably windy effect.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 500 g Jerusalem artichokes
- 3–4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 heaped tablespoons Greek yoghurt
- 4–5 chives, finely chopped (optional)
- 30 g sunflower seeds, toasted
- Sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C/Fan 180˚C/Gas 6. Wash and dry the Jerusalem artichokes, then prick each one a few times with a fork. Put them on a baking tray big enough to hold them in one layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, then bake for 20–25 minutes, or until their skins are becoming brown and sticky and their middles are soft and bursting from the jackets.
- Meanwhile, mix the yoghurt with 1 tablespoon oil and a generous pinch of salt. Spoon this onto a small serving plate or bowl. Once cooked, cut the artichokes in half lengthways and arrange them over the yoghurt. Drizzle with the remaining oil (don’t hold back) and add more salt, and perhaps a few chives.
- Finally, add the toasted sunflower seeds. Serve immediately. Ensure everyone takes a little yoghurt and plenty of seeds to go with their artichokes.