Jerusalem artichokes still grow wild on Cape Ann. A tuft of them has been noted in Lanes Cove. My neighbor grows them, and offered me a delicious basket of the roots a few weeks ago. Friend and botanist Marvin Roberts has a healthy patch in his garden in Gloucester.
Easy to grow, pest resistant, low in calories, glycemic index kind, and high in potassium, Jerusalem artichokes have a downside. That inulin is legendarily hard to digest for some people. I confess I’ve never had that problem.
Marcella and I speak for Jerusalem artichoke’s deliciousness; as a native plant they are a wonderful addition to Thanksgiving Day. This recipe, a slow braise of thinly sliced artichokes and mushrooms, bathed in garlic and parsley, is a beautiful way to add interest to your Thanksgiving Day menu. It is even a polite bow to the Native Americans foodways that kept the early settlers alive.
If you don’t see Jerusalem artichokes in the stores, and you probably won’t, I know they can be special ordered from Willow Rest on Holly Street in Gloucester or Whole Foods; I suspect the other grocery stores would do so, too.
Sauteed Mushrooms and Jerusalem Artichokes
Based on a recipe from Marcella Hazan
1 pound Jerusalem artichokes
1 pound fresh, firm cultivated mushrooms, whole or sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chopped Italian fine-leaf parsley
Red pepper flakes
Skin the Jerusalem artichokes using a small paring knife or a peeler. Rinse them in cold water, then toss in lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Using the fine slicing disk of a food processor, thinly slice artichokes.
Brush the mushrooms clean if they are whole; slice as thinly as the artichokes.
Put the oil and garlic in a large saute pan or skillet, turn heat to medium high. Cook the garlic stirring frequently, until it’s colored gold.