Jerusalem artichokes and broad beans make their appearance just once a year fleetingly in Spring. I honestly don't know why Jerusalum artichokes - rather ugly looking vegetables - are called Jerusalum artichokes. They are neither from Jerusalum, nor are they artichokes. Go figure. But one of my fondest culinary memories growing up is my mum cooking them in lots of red wine and coriander seeds until they were so soft that they would just melt in your mouth - like small sweet potatoes. And broad beans cooked in tomato puree and vinegar I recall being equally delectible.
If you haven't cooked Jerusalem artichokes or broad beans before they might look a little daunting. Make the most of these delicious vegetables while they are in season with my super simple traditional wholefoods spin on these family recipes:
Broad beans in tomato sauce
500g (approx) fresh broadbeans in their pods
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
4 tablespoons tomato puree or tomato passata
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons butter
Directions: Peel the sides of the broad bean pods with a vegetable peeler to remove the tough stringy sides (this is critical otherwise you will have an unpalatable dish). Leaving the beans inside their pods, cut into approximately 2-3 inch lengths. Steam until soft. To make the tomato sauce, sautee onions and garlic in butter in a large frying pan on low heat for approx 5 minutes or until soft and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add wine, vinegar and tomato puree and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. Add beans to tomato sauce and stir gently to combine. Season well with salt and pepper.
dried coriander seeds
Directions: Peel the Jerusalum artichokes with a vegetable peeler and steam until soft. Melt butter in a large frying pan on low heat. Add the Jerusalum artichokes, a good splosh of red wine and season liberally with coriander seeds and salt and pepper. Continue to cook uncovered for several minutes before serving.
I 've been dumbstruck by the kalaidescope of Spring time colours around the Eastern suburbs over the past couple of months- splashes of hot pink Bougainvillea, mauve jacarandas and fragrant jasmine all abloom. I wonder why such exquisite floral beauty didn't strike me so poignantly in previous years (was I in slumberland??). Anyway, I now feel awake and alive and enjoying Spring.... I hope you are too!