The arrival of our vegetable box also announced the true arrival of spring...no more parsnips, no more beetroots, no more turnips...just beautiful asparagus, wild garlic, jerusalem artichokes and new season potatoes all sitting there just begging to be used!
I've never cooked with jerusalem artichokes before. The lady I lodged with at Kew Gardens grew them in her allotment and made me some soup once, but I have never actually cooked with them myself. Jerusalem artichokes are rather sweet looking, like little artichoke shaped root vegetables...
You can peel them if you like, but the skin is perfectly edible. I ended up making a simple soup with them. Onions, jerusalem artichokes and stock all cooked and then blended. I added a little bit of whole milk and some mild cheese at the end. Jerusalem artichokes have quite a strong flavour, which to me is a bit salty, meaning very little seasoning is needed. In fact I didn't use any.
Another vegetable in the box that was new to me was Wild Garlic. I've had it before in dishes, again cooked for me...but I have never used it myself. Wild garlic is related to chives but has a distinct and often strong garlic flavour. It doesn't have a very long growing period and is often hard to buy in shops...so you can imagine how excited I was to see it in our vegetable box on Thursday!
Simply wilted in a bit of butter or stirred through a pasta sauce seem to be the best ways to use this amazingly flavoured leaf. It can even be used in pesto instead of basil (yum!). David and I love garlic and often add slivered garlic to sauteeing spinach and other greens, so these gorgeous green leaves are just up our ally! In the end I paired the Wild Garlic...wilting it in a little bit of butter...with simple oven baked salmon steaks, baked in a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Last night was truely a night of firsts! First time cooking with jerusalem artichokes and wild garlic...and dessert was no exception! I have been drooling over a chocolate pots recipe in The Williams Sanoma Bride and Groom Cookbook generously given to us by my friend Emily in Toronto. I haven't made anything in ramekins since we moved in...mostly because we didn't have ramekins...but we received two volcanic orange Le Creuset ramekins as wedding gifts. So no excuses!!!