We are very pleased to welcome Erin as our seasonal food feature writer on Belfast Times.
Jerusalem Artichoke Boxty
I don’t think I’d ever eaten, or even heard of, a Jerusalem artichoke until I moved to London in the mid noughties and started getting an organic veg box from Abel & Cole. There was a lot of Jerusalem artichoke and black salsify in our veg box that Winter, we mostly ate it roasted, cursing the time-consuming peeling but loving the nutty, earthy flavour. I think they are still under-utilised and really deserve to be celebrated, despite their olfactory side effects, for providing a delicious crop even in the darkest and coldest days of the year.
Now we grow Jerusalem artichokes in our kitchen garden and harvest the tubers, as we need them, between December and March.
I am much more adventurous with my Jerusalem artichoke recipes these days too; we eat them in soups, raw in slaws and pickles (where they have the texture of water chestnut), grated or chopped into all sorts of dumpling fillings and most recently in this twist on traditional potato boxty.
Are you a fan of Jerusalem artichokes or have you never even heard of them? I’d love to hear how you get on if you try out this recipe.
Serves 4 – 6 (makes 12 pieces)
- 250g mashed potatoes
- 250g Jerusalem Artichokes
- ½ teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 200-250ml buttermilk
- Black pepper
- 50g butter or lard
- For the mashed potato you can either use boiled potatoes mashed up or use the inside of baked potatoes. If you used baked potatoes keep the skins and crisp them up in the oven with a little grated cheese and chopped jalapenos for a tasty snack.
- Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes really well, if they are very rough and grubby then you may need to peel them, but if you can get all the dirt off. I prefer not to peel as the skin has extra flavour.
- Grate the artichokes on the large side of a box grater and immediately mix with the masked potatoes as this will stop them discolouring too much. You can add a drop of vinegar or lemon juice as well to stop them going brown. Add the flour, salt, white pepper and most of the buttermilk and mix gently until you have a wet dough. Add the black pepper to taste.
- Heat half the butter or lard in a frying pan (mine is about 23cm/9 inches in diameter) over a medium high heat. Once hot dollop in half the mixture spreading it out with a spoon until it completely covers the bottom of the pan. It will be 2-3cm thick. Turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 7 minutes. The boxty will be mostly cooked but you want to crisp up the other side. Pick up the frying pan and using a fish slice gently slide the boxty onto a large dinner plate. Now invert the frying pan over the boxty and turn the plate upside down as you turn the frying pan back the right way. The boxty will now be back in the pan with the uncooked side down. Cook for another three minutes until golden and crispy on the bottom. Repeat with the other half of the boxty mixture.
- If you are worried about flipping over a whole frying pan of boxty then just cook little boxty fritters, spoon generous tablespoons of boxty into the hot pan and cook for about 5 minutes before flipping over and cooking for a couple of minutes more.
- You can eat the boxty immediately (it’s still delicious) but I think the texture improves if you let it cool, cut it into sixths and then re-fry it again later. It’s great with fried eggs and a dollop of homemade ketchup – you can find the recipe for my Hedgerow Ketchup here.