Surprisingly Jerusalem artichokes or sunchoke aren't from the Middle East. They were grown here in the North America by Native Americans. The Italian immigrants gave them the name girasole, meaning sunflower because the flower is similar to the garden sunflower.
Picture curtesy of Wikipedia
The English the changed the name to Jerusalem but no one is sure where the artichoke thing comes from. The point is they are healthy, delicious and make the most incredible soup. The French feel in love with the in the 19th century. When you make this soup you will understand why.
On Christmas Eve I serve this as a first course. A soupettes (tiny soup bowl) beside a small jeweled salad of arugula, orange wedges, pomegranate seeds and golden beets. The colors are lovely and the hazelnut gremolata provides crunch in this velvety soup. The Truffle Oil enhances the earthy flavor of the sunchoke making this a lovely beginning to a memorable holiday meal.
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Hazelnut Gremolata and Truffle Oil1 tablespoon butter
1 pound jerusalem artichokes, washed and sliced
1 medium clove garlic minced
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add garlic and sauté until it's aromatic about 30 seconds.
Add mire poix or onion, carrot and celery and sauté until soft.
Add chicken broth and cook about 1 hour. Puree with a wand or a food processor.
Stir in cream and heat.
To serve place the gremolata in center, pour Truffle oil around the bowl.
2 Tablespoons hazelnuts, roasted, skin rubbed off and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoons finely grated orange rind
1 tablespoon or so of olive oilStir together in a small bowl and place in center of soup.