Jerusalem Artichokes Three Ways

I had this as a starter at the Landgate Bistro in Rye and have tweaked it and cooked it at home, finding it a tasty and nutritious way of using one of the few allotment vegetables still available in late February. If you are not vegetarian it is delicious with a strip (or two!) of streaky bacon on top and is a generous starter or light supper dish.

Serves 4

8-9 good-sized Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed but not peeled
juice of half a lemon
25g butter
a little milk or cream
vegetable oil

Cut six of the artichokes lengthwise, toss in a little vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook at gas mark 3 or 170C, 150C fan for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile chop one or two artichokes into bite-sized pieces and place in water with half of the lemon juice and boil for 30 minutes. Drain and mash, adding the butter and cream until you have a smooth consistency. Keep warm. Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to cover the whole surface. Thinly slice the last artichoke, with a mandolin if you have one, and coat in the remaining lemon juice until the oil is hot. Pat dry and fry until crisp – only a couple of minutes.

To plate up place three of the roasted half artichokes around each plate and add a spoonful of mash on top of each. Place some rocket leaves or, for a heartier meal, kale or cabbage, in the centre and scatter the artichoke crisps over the dish. Surround with a vinaigrette dressing of your choice. I recommend a honey and mustard dressing with a little balsamic vinegar.