Another first in our house - Jerusalem artichokes! I immediately asked my best girlfriend what I should do with them. She had never used them before either, but she was pretty sure that they could be used similarly to potatoes. So I did some searching on the internet and found that most recipes pretty much treated them as a potato substitute.
My Jerusalem artichokes (a.k.a. sunchokes) are a little worse for the wear here - they arrived all beautiful and off white (like ginger), but underwent a little oxidation while they waited in my fridge while I was busy having baby #3.
Since there weren't very many sunchokes in my share, I decided to mix them into scalloped potatoes. That way we would have enough to make a proper side dish, but still be able to sample the individual taste and texture of the sunchokes.
To prep, I simply peeled and cut some potatoes and sunchokes. I had a taste of the sunchoke in its raw form. It was crisp, juicy, and slightly sweet (like a water chestnut) but a bit earthier and starchier like an arrowhead (慈姑). Next time I'll definitely try them in a stir fry.
I cut enough potatoes and sunchokes to half fill an 11-cup capacity baking dish. Into this I poured a mixture of 2 cups of whole milk, grated pecorino romano, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Added some grated cheese (marble and old cheddar) over the top for good measure and popped the whole deal into a 375F oven for about an hour.
When the liquid is mostly absorbed, you'll end up with something like this...
The result was a soft cheesy, creamy concoction that had the softness of yukon gold potatoes married with the relative crispness of the Jerusalem artichokes. It was a nice departure from the usual scalloped potatoes since it gave you something to bite on. And the sunchokes imparted a freshness that contrasted really nicely with the starchiness of the potatoes.
I'll definitely look forward to my next CSA season and hope to receive these little gems again :)