Gourmandistan

Topinambour-ing to you!

We’re always trying to vary our limited winter veg choices, so we’ve been happy to see tiny bags of Jerusalem artichokes available at our currently-only-on-Saturdays local farm store.  Known as sunchokes, topinambours and more, these gnarled sunflower tubers are great pan-roasted, or thin-sliced and sautéed with garlic. (Then again, just about anything is great sautéed with garlic.)

Looking for another way to use the tasty tubers, Michelle discovered a tart recipe in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and decided we could wing it with the chokes and some ingredients we had on hand. Steve made another one of his buttery pie crusts, and Michelle busied herself peeling, cubing and boiling the chokes along with shredding cheese, chiffonading kale and making a creamy egg filling. The Jerusalem artichokes baked up better than potato, with a creamy yet sturdy texture. And, though the original recipe called for blander Swiss chard and tangier goat cheese, we thought the chokes went particularly well with our substituted slightly bitter Lacinato kale and a rich, salty Gruyère.

While it was delicious, Michelle thought the work put this tart slightly on the wrong side of the “ass pain/amazing taste” meter.  But while he’s agreeable to returning to the sauté pan, Steve hopes she finds the energy to make this one again.

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE TART

(adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook) (makes a 9″ tart)

  • 1 recipe pâte brisée or other pie crust
  • Approximately 1 lb. Jerusalem artichokes
  • Approximately 5 oz. Lacinato kale
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/4 c. crème fraîche
  • 2 eggs
  • Approximately 4 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated

Roll out the crust and place in a 9″ tart pan with a removable bottom.  Prick the bottom with a fork.  Put in the refrigerator for at least half an hour (or for a shorter period in the freezer).

Blind-bake the crust in a 340° oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the weights and bake for 10 minutes more.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, peel the Jerusalem artichokes and cut them into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes.  Cover with salted water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, then leave in a strainer to dry.

Remove the stems from the kale and chiffonade the leaves.  Heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the kale.  Cook until soft, tossing frequently.  Splash on some water if the kale seems to be getting too dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Near end of cooking time, add the rosemary and garlic. Add lemon juice, then set aside to cool.

Whisk the cream, crème fraîche and eggs together, along with a bit of salt and pepper, in a bowl.

If the artichokes are damp, dry with paper towels.  Spread the artichokes and the kale on the partially-baked crust.  Sprinkle about 3/4 of the cheese over.  Pour the custard mixture over the vegetables and cheese, making sure not to fill too full.  (We ended up with a tablespoon or two more than we needed in our shallow tart pan.)  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes uncovered.  Then, cover with foil (making sure not to let the foil touch the tart’s surface) and bake for 45 minutes more until filling is set.  If the top of the tart needs more browning (as ours did) at this point, remove the foil and bake for a few minutes more.

Cool on wire rack.  Remove sides of tart pan.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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13 comments

    • And we didn’t even share the fact that, for almost a decade, I wouldn’t eat them because of an unfortunate event in Paris involving an oyster and topinambour soup. It wasn’t the fault of the latter, but still…

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