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Tag: FMC (page 2 of 2)

FMC Sunchokes: Tortilla de Patata y Topinambur

tortillasunchokeOn the rare occasions when I’ve had sunchokes before, I have enjoyed their distinctive flavor; their firmish flesh is sweet up front, and finishes with an artichoke-y tang that wraps itself pleasingly around the back of my mouth. Aka the Jerusalem artichoke, it has something of a sinister reputation for causing gas and stomach pain. According to the indispensable Alan Davidson, this is thanks to the high levels of inulin–a hard-to-digest starch–they possess.

As someone whose digestive system is generally one Milano cookie away from total chaos, this was not thrilling news, and added a new dimension to this challenge: how to highlight the sunchoke without having to consume very much of it? Upon further cogitation and browsing on teh interwebz, I was captivated by the suggestion, made by the lovely Clothilde of Chocolate & Zucchini, of a Spanish tortilla. She mentions in passing that the sunchoke gets on well with the potato, and what better way to showcase it than in a delicious, if fairly bland, tortilla of gently cooked egg, potato, and onion?

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FMC: Choke on This!


Hi, we’re back with a new Farmer’s Market Challenge for 2010. First up: The sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke. I recognize that, so far, I’ve selected some rather bizarre produce for these challenges but, hey, it’s challenging finding a variety of goods at the market during these winter months.

Intimidating looking (resembling knobs of ginger), the tubers have the consistency of a potato but the taste of an artichoke.

Interesting factoid from  ”Thinking they tasted like artichokes, the Italian named the tuber ‘girasole articicco,’ meaning, ‘sunflower artichoke.’ Americans corrupted the pronunciation, which they thought sounded more like ‘Jerusalem,’ but the name stuck.”

Fun for all. Let the challenge begin!

Cardoon Challenge: A Bitter Pill to Swallow

Cardoon2Hoisted by ones own petard, party of one? Excuse me, but my table is ready. After looking askance at Joe’s first Farmers’ Market Challenge selection, a slightly quotidian bunch of carrots, I was excited to see what more challenging bit of produce he’d produce for our next challenge. Cardoons? Ok, fine. BRING IT, Mr. Fresh.

After doing some not inconsiderable research, I learned that the cardoon is the thistle-y love child of celery and artichoke (figuratively speaking) and that they had a sweetish flavor most reminiscent of the latter. Given that I also learned that they’re generally a bit tough and need to be aggressively trimmed to remove fibrous strings and errant thorns, then braised or par-cooked, I elected to do something fairly simple with them. I thought a thorough braise with garlic, bay, lemon, and wine–all traditional compliments for artichoke–would be a good start. I then planned on cutting the cardoons into 3″ batons and tossing them with a broken vinaigrette flavored with lemon, parsley, and anchovy, providing some tang and needed umami to the dish. Add  maybe a caper or two and I’d have a lovely warm salad or side fit for a simple grilled meat. It was, however, not to be…

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