Friday 22 September 2017

Crisps for one

The Jerusalem artichoke has an unfair reputation, says Susan Jane White, it's just a 'microbiome superfood'

Jerusalem artichokes are neither from Jerusalem, nor are they artichokes. Confused? Totes.

Nothing is ever as it seems, especially when it comes to this vegetable crisps recipe. They taste decidedly unhealthy and deep fried, but in reality they are oven baked, without oil. Touch of the Derren Browns about them.

These root vegetables look exactly like little yellow potatoes. The giveaway sign is their purple hue and their price tag (three for €1). Sometimes called sunchokes, Jerusalem artichokes are best sourced from achingly trendy farmers' markets such as the one in Temple Bar, or from suave grocers, such as those found in the English Market in Cork. The flesh of an arti is quite special - creamy and waxy, with a slight perfume.

Most of the time, you'll only notice Jerusalem artichokes on fancy restaurant menus as a soup. Each bowl can contain up to three Jerusalem artis - good gracious, that's a lot. No wonder Madame suffers from trouser trumpets.

The maximum our delicate bowels can tolerate is normally one Jerusalem arti, folks. Don't panic - eating more than one ain't toxic or nuffink. But it can sound like a civil war erupting inside your pipes.

Why so? Unusual for a carbohydrate-rich tuber, Jerusalem artis store inulin instead of starch. Inulin has been shown to feed the good bacteria in our gut. Starch does not. This is why MD Raphael Kellman calls the Jerusalem arti a "microbiome superfood." (Score! Prebiotic crisps!)

We're told that the levels at which a person can tolerate inulin can wildly vary. Some might get noisy with it, while others escape the gas works. The litmus test is to try a few crisps the first night. If the air stays clear, go wild with a tray and your favourite box set.

But seriously - they're not fit for date night.

Vegetable Crisps

1 portion.

Use one Jerusalem artichoke per person. Serve in good company.

You will need:

1 Jerusalem artichoke

A flurry of sea salt flakes

Leaving the skin on, scrub any dirt or grit from the Jerusalem artichoke under fresh running water. Slice thinly and uniformly. If you have a fancy machine to do this, all the better. Mandolines are also good, but I prefer a Magimix food processor blade, designed to slice whole vegetables in less than two seconds.

Scatter the sliced arties over one or two roasting trays, depending how many people you plan on serving. Parachute the sea salt flakes on top. Make sure each slice is spread out, and is not fraternising with another piece. They need to dry out in the oven, and can't do this if they are hugging each other.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C, 375°F, Gas 6 for 12-20 minutes, depending on how thick the crisps are. When the corner of a crisp starts to brown, take it out. Some might need further baking.

Let them cool and crinkle on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve, keeping the secret to yourself. Please.

susanjanewhite.com

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