Despite what Julia Child described as their ‘rooty-toot-toot’ problem, Jerusalem artichokes are delicious and versatile.
If you dig them and find that they are not quite ready they will be soft skinned and not need peeling. Scrubbed, lightly steamed and with a dollop of butter and ground black pepper they are superb. Peeling is a bit of a fiddle and I never do so.
They are good added to a roast for the last half hour of cooking too. And soup made from them is divine. Elizabeth David wrote a recipe for her book ‘Mediterranean Food’ - Potage de Topinambours à la Provençale and it is repeated in her ‘South Wind Through the Kitchen’. And if the soup is one with cream added they are superb. They were named 'best soup vegetable' in the 2002 Nice festival for the heritage of the French cuisine.
Slices cooked gently in milk, then cooled, make a good salad; they can also be used raw in salads. Pickled, they are crunchy and delicious.