Sometimes I walk around the produce section and pick up something that is new to my kitchen -- and even more exciting -- that I don't really recognize. I purchase a small quantity, take it home and figure out what to do with it.
Jerusalem artichokes have been hanging around my kitchen for a while now though so they aren't in the unknown category anymore but this was a new way to cook them that I felt pretty happy about.
If you haven't seen one before, they look similar to an overgrown ginger root, knobby and brown with a white interior (usually). They have some similarities to potatoes in texture but with a slightly more prominent flavor that is nutty and sweet at the same time. With those similarities in mind I thought they might make a nice taco filling.
I usually peel jerusalem artichokes though I have read that you don't necessarly need to (another thing to try!). They can be eaten raw or cooked, you could put them slaw or a salad or make a soup out of them as well.
I could also see mixing some poblanos and creme fraiche into this recipe for a creamy taco filling alternative, the idea derived from this recipe from Rick Bayless.
Corn and Jerusalem Artichoke Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
Yields 8 tacos
1 pound jerusalem artichokes, peeled, sliced thin and cut into strips (~1/2 inch wide)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh is great! frozen or canned is fine too)
2 T olive oil
(scant) 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 cup green cabbage, washed and thinly sliced
1 cup red cabbage, washed and thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, washed and grated
a small handful of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
1 tsp honey
2 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
8 corn tortillas
sour cream (optional)
1/2 cup grated cheddar or crumbled queso fresco (optional)
(If you wish to warm your tortillas in the oven, pre-heat it to 250 degrees.)
Make the Cabbage Slaw:
Mix the green and red cabbages in a bowl with the carrot and cilantro.
In a small saucepan, heat the red wine vinegar and honey, stirring, just until the honey melts. Add to the bowl of cabbages along with some salt and pepper, toss well and set aside.
Make the filling:
In a large skillet, heat the 2 T olive oil over medium high heat. Add the jerusalem artichokes, cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Stir and let cook until the jerusalem artichoke starts to brown, a couple of minutes. Add the corn, stir again and cook until the filling is browned and cooked through, a couple of minutes more.
Warm the tortillas:
Heat the corn tortillas. I usually warm my tortillas on a dry skillet and wrap them in a towel to keep them warm (while I warm the remaining tortillas). Alternatively, you could wrap them in a towel and pop the in the oven until they are warmed through.
Put it together:
To serve, put a heaping spoonful of filling on each tortilla and top with the slaw, (optional) cheese and (optional) sour cream.
Serving Suggestion: Serve with fruit or for a more substantial meal, beans and rice.