Ingredients

Crosnes

Other Names: Chinese artichokes, chorogi, Japanese artichokes.

General Description: Crosnes (Stachys sieboldii and affinis) are small, crisp, tan-skinned white tubers in the mint family with a nutty, artichoke-like flavor. Crosnes are unusual tubers that grow like potatoes and resemble sunchokes in flavor, texture, and use. Though rare in the U.S., they are much appreciated by the French, who first imported them from China in the late 19th century. Their name comes from the town of Crosnes, France, where they were first raised.

Crosnes are small and resemble caterpillars with marble-sized sections that are joined together, increasing in size from the ends toward the middle. Much of their flavor resides in the skin. Peeled crosnes discolor quickly when exposed to air. Chinese poets compare crosnes to jade beads.

Season: Crosnes are in season in the winter.

Purchase: Look for the palest, firmest crosnes.

Avoid: Avoid soft or spotted crosnes.

Storage: Refrigerate in an open container for up to 1 week.

Preparation:

  1. Trim the top and bottom of the crosnes.
  2. To remove the skin, spread out on a towel and sprinkle with kosher salt. Rub the crosnes together to remove most of the skin.
  3. Rinse under cold water.
  4. Cut away protruding roots to even the shape.

Serving Suggestions: Boil in salted water or stock until crisp-tender. Cook in a mixture of butter and water with desired seasonings until the water boils away and the crosnes begin to sizzle. Pickle in a mixture of spices and vinegar to use as a relish. Blanch, chill, and fry in tempura batter.

Flavor Affinities: Butter, chervil, chives, dill, lemon, rice vinegar, scallions, shallots, wine vinegar.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com