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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Haddock with Jerusalem Artichokes | You've Got Meal!

From a farmers market lover point of view I don’t really like winter – the veggies are scarce, they don’t have the same taste and it’s cold (that has nothing to do with farmers market, I just hate cold). But sometimes, even this harsh time of the year, you can get pleasantly surprised by some not so popular veggies, in this case Jerusalem artichokes. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this (half frozen) lady selling them in the market – in this area they’re called by their German name: topinambur. 

Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with the city or with an artichoke, instead its most common relative is the daisy. The parts you eat are the tubers, and the taste brings notes of sweet, sunflower seeds, slightly earthy, nutty. We used them in this dish as a substitute for spuds, even if Jerusalem artichoke have little to none starch. Both the fish and the veggies are Jamie Oliver inspired – I find that when you are trying to find clean, simple, dishes that hold distinctive flavors, The Naked Chef is the man for the job.

For the Jerusalem artichokes: 
  • 600-700 grams of the tubers, 
  • 2-3garlic cloves, 
  • 4-5 bay leaves, 
  • salt, pepper, 
  • olive oil, 
  • red wine vinegar. 
For the fish: 
  • 500 grams of haddock fillets, 
  • a dozen strips of smoked bacon, 
  • 2 tbs. of finely chopped fresh rosemary, 
  • the zest of 1 lemon, 
  • pepper. 

You can easily cook both the fish and the veggie at the same time. 

  1. Start of by cleaning the Jerusalem artichokes – either by thoroughly washing them or by peeling them. 
  2. In 50 ml of olive oil, on medium heat, pop the tubers and the bay leaves in and cook them until golden on all sides – keep an eye on these bad boys as they can easily burn. 
  3. Next, add 40 ml of the vinegar in the pan with some salt and pepper, toss around to mix. 
  4. Cover with a lid and cook until you can easily skewer the artichokes with a fork. 
  5. 5 minutes before being done pop the garlic in the pan.

  1. In order to cook the fish, place some bacon strips, slightly overlapped on each other on the working surface. 
  2. Place the fish in the middle of the bacon and sprinkle some rosemary, lemon zest and pepper on top. I didn’t add salt as the bacon was quite salty, adjust accordingly to your meat. 
  3. Close the bacon on top of the fish and cook in a couple tbs. of olive oil on both sides, for a minute each. 
  4. Next, place the fish in the oven for 10 minutes – you might need more if the fish is thicker. 
  5. Garnish  with some chopped chives.

While cooking this dish I realized that these Jerusalem artichokes go really well with two flavors: smoke (thus the bacon) and nuts. For the last one I decided to make a simple dressing that would compliment both the fish and the tubers: 300 grams of 10% fat Greek yogurt, the juice of half a lemon, 50 grams of roughly chopped walnuts, 1 crushed clove of garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, some saffron threads that have been kept in a tbs. of warm water. Mix all the ingredients and create a great sauce that can be use a lot of your fish dishes or even as a great companion for some baked potatoes.

In the end, what can I say? The fish was the great, the Jerusalem artichokes were good (I love my spuds and I’m not going to replace them). Definitely going to try and bring this ingredient to some other dishes, maybe some that will require boiling/steaming them. 


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