So I had these jerusalem artichokes sitting in the fridge for about a week, bought on a whim at the market on an empty tummy. I know, I know, don’t shop when you’re hungry but it just happens, you know?
Jerusalem Artichokes are funny little things, grossly misnamed because as we all know, they’re neither real artichokes nor are they from Jerusalem! Read more about them here.
We’re just at the end of the season for these guys, October to March being harvest time, that might explain the inexpensive bounty at the market this time of year. They will store quite happily for a couple of weeks in the fridge if allowed to breathe in a paper bag or wrapped up in paper towels.
Besides the creamy, smoky flavour, I love Jerusalem artichokes for their versatility; you can bake, sauté, boil or steam them! One of my favourite ways is to add a few of them to whatever potato dish I might be making, they add a lovely dimension to gratin dishes!
Today’s recipe: I had some friends coming over for lunch last week and this is what I served as a starter, with a slice of homemade bread on the side. The spicy, smoky prawns complimented the creamy velouté perfectly and you definitely need some bread to get the most out of it.
What is velouté? It’s one of the five main (mother) sauces in French cooking, along with tomato, espagnole, hollandaise and béchamel, from which so many other sauces are derived. In the modern culinary world, velouté can also be loosely used to describe a soup that’s been thickened with butter and/or cream.
Lose the breadcrumbs. You could, if you fancy the crunch, use an alternative, gluten free crumb mix.
Let’s check out the recipe!
Smoky Prawns on Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté
Hot Smoky Prawns
- 12 – 18 large tiger prawns
- ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
- pinch chilli flakes or chilli powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or as needed
Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté
- 500 g (1.1 lb) Jerusalem Artichokes
- 30 g (1 Tbsp) butter
- 1 large leek sliced
- 1 clove garlic halved
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock homemade or good shop bought
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- 100 ml (2/5 cup) crème fraîche
- a drizzle of chilli oil or some chilli flakes
- a slice of bread toasted and crumbled
- chopped fresh parsley
- Season the prawns with the paprika, chilli, salt and lime/lemon juice and set aside while you get the artichokes going.
- Peel and chop the artichokes into little cubes.
- Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat.
- Sauté the artichokes, leeks and garlic for 10 minutes, stirring frequently and lowering the heat down if they begin to brown at the edges.
- Add the stock and bay leaf and bring to boil. Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes or so, until the artichokes are soft and almost falling apart.
- Season with a little pepper and check salt content. You shouldn’t need any salt.
- Transfer the whole lot into a blender and blitz to form a smooth puree.
- Transfer back into the warm saucepan.
- Loosen the crème fraîche with a ladle of the velouté, then add it to the contents of the saucepan and mix thoroughly. Check seasoning but it should be perfect at this stage.
- Keep warm while you get the prawns done.
- Let’s cook the prawns in batches, how many, depends on the size of your pan, we’ll be quickly searing and charring the prawns.
- Heat the oil on high heat and when it’s hot, add some of the prawns in and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side until just done. You want the skin slightly blackened, this will contribute to the final flavour.
- Set aside and keep warm while you cook the rest of the prawns.
- Ladle the velouté into individual soup bowls and top with 2-3 prawns per person.
- Drizzle some chilli oil or sprinkle some chilli flakes over. Top with some fresh parsley and the crumbled toast for some contrast in texture.