Hay-baked Jerusalem Artichoke Salad with Smoked Salad Cream
Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a starter
This is confession time. Most chefs work incredibly long, unsociable hours and every chef I know certainly has a secret comfort food that makes them feel human again. In the winter, with the long, cold, dark days, I quite enjoy a baked potato smothered with salad cream. This recipe is my take on a glamorised version of baked potato with salad cream!
Jerusalem artichokes baked over hay are used instead of potatoes, and while they are baking, the cream (which will be used to make the salad cream) is smoked at the same time. This recipe is a far cry from the humble baked potato and shop-bought salad cream, but it’s a clever and interesting twist that evokes great memories.
Ingredients & Method
- 25g clean fresh hay
- 300ml cold water
- 800g Jerusalem artichokes
- 150ml double cream
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 pinches of caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 5 tablespoons hazelnut oil
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 leek, washed and cut into 1/2cm slices
- 2 slices sourdough bread, crusts removed and bread torn into small pieces
- 4 eggs juice of
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil, plus extra for tossing with the artichokes
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- baby or mini/micro salad leaves, to serve
Put the hay into a bowl and cover with the water. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes, then drain thoroughly in a colander. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and find a wire cooling rack that fits over a large roasting tin.
Peel the Jerusalem artichokes and cut them in half, then cook them in a pan of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.
Place the drained hay in the bottom of a large roasting tin and place the cooling rack over the hay, then arrange the artichokes on top of the cooling rack in a single layer.
Pour the cream into a small saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and heat gently to just below boiling point, then pour the cream into a small, ovenproof dish. Place the warmed cream on the cooling rack next to the artichokes and cover the whole lot loosely with a tent of foil.
Heat the roasting tin on the hob until the hay starts to smoke, then transfer the foil-covered roasting tin to the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the cream from the oven – it will look like baked set cream, but once you stir it, it will revert to liquid again (a slightly thickened and reduced liquid). Pass the cream through a fine sieve and leave to cool.
Return the artichokes, uncovered, to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until they have turned a deep, creamy colour – they will be dry and will look slightly smoked.
Meanwhile, prepare the hazelnut confit leeks. To make the vinaigrette, put a pinch of sugar, 1 teaspoon of the mustard, the hazelnut oil, cider vinegar and salt and pepper in a small saucepan and heat gently to just warm it through (do not let it boil). Remove from the heat. Heat 1 teaspoon of the butter in a small, non-stick frying pan and once the butter starts to foam, add the leek slices and salt and pepper and fry over a medium heat for 5–6 minutes or until the leek is golden brown. Transfer the leeks to the warmed vinaigrette and stir, then set aside to infuse for at least 15 minutes.
In the meantime, wipe the frying pan clean, then return it to the heat with the remaining butter. Once the butter starts to foam, add the bread pieces and cook over a medium heat for 3–4 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Soft-boil the eggs in a pan of gently simmering water for 5 minutes, then drain and plunge into cold water to cool them quickly. Once cool, drain and then peel the eggs, reserving 2 eggs for the salad cream. Halve the remaining 2 eggs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to serve.
Make the smoked salad cream. Scoop out the soft egg yolks from the 2 reserved eggs into a bowl and discard the egg whites. Add the remaining sugar and mustard, the lemon juice, 100ml of the smoked cream and 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil and whisk together until smooth and combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Assemble the dish by tossing the warm, smoked artichokes in a little extra rapeseed oil. Arrange the artichokes on serving plates with the hazelnut confit leeks and salad leaves alongside. Place an egg half on to each plate, then scatter over the golden bread pieces. Pour the smoked salad cream into a small dipping bowl and serve separately.