Dunno if it’s just me, but Jerusalem artichokes always make me sit up straight and mind my aitches. This is daft, as in many countries they are regarded as being fit only for cattle: I must have eaten them somewhere very smart in my formative years. I am also slightly in awe of Brussels sprouts: my father was apparently force fed so many at school during WWII (rationing, remember?) that they were taboo in our house when I was a nipper. Anyway, teaming these vegetables with avocado hollandaise makes this one impressive little umami-packed side dish, even if I say so myself.
Useless artichoke fact: the Jerusalem of the title is, like the best peculiar names in the world, a corruption, in this case of girasol/e (sunflower in Spanish and Italian), for this tuber is a member of the sunflower family.
Peel and finely slice the chokes then plunge them immediately into cold acidulated water (just add a dash of lemon juice, or float 2–3 pre-squeezed limes or lemons in the water). Shred the sprouts roughly.*
Put the avocado, lime juice, herbs, pepper and egg into your blender and give them a quick whiz. Melt the butter carefully, skimming off any white solids that come to the top, then trickle it very slowly into the avocado mixture while the motor is running. If you do not have a blender, mix the first 5 ingredients in a wee bowl over a pan of boiling water, then slowly whisk the butter in and take off the heat. You want the sauce to thicken, but to be thinner than normal hollandaise, so if it looks too thick, add a splash of cold water.
Drain the chokes and arrange them on a platter along with the Brussels sprouts. Drizzle with the hollandaise, top with the almonds, and stand back to marvel at what a pretty shade of green it is.
I like this salad raw, but if you are cooking for Great Uncle Albert (dentures and all), you may want to blanch the chokes and sprouts – the former for about 2 minutes, and the latter for 30 seconds – before refreshing them under cold water and proceeding as above.
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