Ever been taunted by a vegetable?
I tell you, the Jerusalem Artichokes in my local organic supermarket were provoking me every time I walked by. They would sit there looking all innocent, whilst making me painfully aware of the fact that I had no idea what they actually are or how to prepare them.
Last weekend I decided it was time to face the challenge of the Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke, NL: Aarpeer, DE: Topinambur). I searched for some recipes and was surprised to discover that there really is no secret to preparing them. You can roast them, turn them into mash; they work as a side dish or as part of a salad. Then I stumbled across this simple recipe for a muffin size frittata. The original recipe is for mini muffins that are served up as finger food for a party. I decided to make my frittatas the size of regular muffins and have them as a side to my dinner of roast chicken drumsticks and green beans.
What a fabulous find!
These little frittata are quick and easy to throw together. At the same time they make even the simplest dinner look a little festive. They have a great texture: the Jerusalem Artichokes have a bit more crunch to them than potatoes; they pair beautifully with the silky egg. The flavour is almost a little smoky.
Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a few days and eaten at room temperature. Although they will collapse and look a little less pretty. Also they become a bit denser in texture. At the same time I cannot say I enjoyed them less the next day.
There is one thing I should tell you though: Jerusalem Artichokes have a reputation for causing flatulence. I do have to say that I did not really notice it with this recipe (as opposed to when I roasted them a few days later). I read somewhere that cooking them at a high temperature might make all the difference. So maybe the fact that these are boiled first makes a difference?!
The reason for the flatulence is that Jerusalem Artichokes contain inulin which is a carbohydrate that humans cannot digest. The task of breaking it down it is therefore sub-contracted to ‘friendly’ intestinal bacteria which do an admirable job of making the stored energy available but produce carbon dioxide as a by product. On the plus side inuline is a probiotic that is keeps your intestines clean and your belly flat. And on top of that, because the the body does not utilize this carbohydrate, the calorie intake is virtually nil, only 7 calories per 100 grams (although they contain about as many calories as potatoes).
(hardly altered from the blog “What’s Cooking Goodlooking“)
Serves 1 – about 4 muffins
about 150g Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes, NL: Aarpeer, DE: Topinambur)
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
optional: a few chili flakes
5-10g fresh chives
- Bring a small pot of water to the boil.
- Preheat oven to 180C (325F).
- Wash the Jerusalem Artichokes brushing off all the dirt (no need to peel).
- Cut out any black bits and then slice them into slices about the thickness of a matchstick.
- Cook the artichokes in for 8-10 minutes until just tender.
- Drain and set aside to cool a little.
- In a mixing bowl add eggs, thyme leaves, oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes (if using).
- Whisk briefly.
- (I have a silicone muffin tin so there is no need to grease it. If necessary grease your tin.)
- Chop the chives and add to the egg mix.
- Add the artichoke and stir to ensure all the slices are coated in egg.
- Spoon the mixture in 4-5 holes of your muffin tin. (The frittata will rise so about 1/2 to 3/4 full is enough.)
- Bake for about 20-25 min until risen and golden. Do not overcook them to avoid the egg from turning dry.
- Serve warm or at room temperature (they will collapse as they cool down.)
- They can be stored in the fridge for a few days (they will collapse and turn a little denser.)
- Mustard Roast Chicken and blanched beans
- Steak and broccoli
Some of the health benefits
- Prebiotic effects Jerusalem artichokes contain plenty of inulin, which stimulates the growth of bifidobacteria. Naturally present in the large intestine, bifidobacteria fight harmful bacteria in the intestines, prevent constipation, and give the immune system a boost. Furthermore, evidence indicates that bifidobacteria help reduce intestinal concentrations of certain carcinogenic enzymes.
- Packed with B vitamins, particularly thiamine, with a 100-gram portion (3.5 ounces) of raw Jerusalem artichokes providing 0.2 milligrams of thiamine. (about 13% of the recommended daily value). Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, is crucial for the proper functioning of the nervous system and the muscles. It is also needed for carbohydrate metabolism as well as for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Lack of hydrochloric acid may impair protein digestion and cause stomach pain by inhibiting the activation of the enzyme pepsin. Furthermore, low acid levels in the stomach increase the risk of bacterial overgrowth in the stomach, which in turn may cause diarrhea or decreased absorption of health benefiting vitamins and minerals. The natural level of hydrochloric acid decreases as we age, and therefore especially older people might want to eat plenty of Jerusalem artichokes and other foods that promote the production of hydrochloric acid.
- Medium GI food with a glycemic value of 50, Jerusalem, which means they do not cause rapid fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Due to their gentle effect on blood glucose levels, they can help curb cravings, prevent mood swings, fight fatigue, manage PCOS symptoms, improve diabetes control, and even reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- More potassium than bananas which are famous for their high potassium content: a 100-gram portion of raw Jerusalem artichokes delivers 429 milligrams of potassium, while bananas provide 358 milligrams. Potassium is particularly important for a healthy heart, properly functioning muscles and reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis. Potassium-containing foods are considered particularly beneficial for people who eat a lot of salty food.