Saturday, November 19, 2011

pork tenderloin with jerusalem artichokes

A couple of months ago, we were doing a photo shoot at the house for a story I was doing for work, and my friend Ted was here. He knew about this project, and has eaten some of the results. He was looking through the Babbo cookbook, and he got really excited when he came across this recipe.

"I'm growing Jerusalem artichokes! You want them?"


Ted grows a lot of stuff. I try to grow stuff, and have had a little bit of success with things like greens and tomatoes.

Ted grows Jerusalem artichokes.

At the time, he didn't know what would come of them, if they would be usable. I shrugged. My alternative was to wait to see when Whole Foods got them, so I was happy to wait out Ted's attempt.

They came out fine. 

The Jerusalem artichoke, also called a sunchoke, is the root of a sunflower-looking plant. So there was a lot of cleaning going on. That's a photo of them at the top of the post (taken, with permission, from Thanks!)

This what they look like when they come out of the ground:

And this is what they look like after they are trimmed and cleaned:

The recipe calls for the chokes to be packed in salt and roasted. Here is what that looks like: 

OK, it looks like a bowl of salt. 

I suspect there is science involved with the salt roasting, but I don't really know what it is. When you salt roast fish, the salt is in sort of an egg slurry and it gets all hard when it cooks, and seals in juices or something. This was dry salt, and sunchokes aren't juicy. I suspect that the salt, being a rock and all, heats up fast, and the direct contact with the food probably applies heat to the food more evenly, and probably more quickly.

But that's a total guess.

Otherwise, we had a pork tenderloin that was rubbed in sugar, chili pepper and porcini powder. Rub anything in porcini powder and it gets better. Don't think about that too hard. The pork gets grilled. I have experience with grilling pork. All over it.

I followed the directions for the cinzano vinaigrette, but I felt like I mostly just got olive oil with a little sweet stuff in the bottom. Luckily, I use really good olive oil. There were blanched green beans.

It was a good dish. Liked the pork a lot. Still not 100 percent sure what to make of the sunchokes, but I'd eat them again. I wish I had had a better balanced vinaigrette. Could have used a little more punch. I probably needed to get rid of the oil in the pan before adding the vinaigrette. Don't know.

FYI: There is one other Jerusalem artichoke dish.

Up next: grilled pork chops w peaches.

1 comment:

Ted McLaren said...

I might be biased, but I must say, I really liked this dish a lot. Rich flavors that contrasted with each other well.

I hope to contribute more produce to future dishes in your project!