WHAT? Asian artichoke imposters. Also known as Chinese artichokes, knot-root, and chorogi, crosnes (or more formally Crosnes de Japon) are a pearl-colored root vegetable that is little known in the United States or Europe, with the exception of France. In looks, Crosnes have been compared to caterpillars, petrified worms, and—more appetizingly, and we think, more accurately—to misshapen pearls and jade beads. The first time we saw them, we thought an overeager Beard House chef had gone to an awful lot of trouble to intricately tourné hundreds of fingerling potatoes. In terms of taste, crosnes have been likened to apples, salsify, and Jerusalem artichokes. The latter probably explains the name “Chinese artichoke”; botanically speaking, the two plants are unrelated. Jerusalem artichokes are in the sunflower family; crosnes are the roots of an herb in the mint family that originated in China and Japan. They were introduced to France in the late 19th century, and named for Crosnes, the village where they were first cultivated. According to a recent article in a journal of England’s Royal Horticultural Society, crosnes were popular until the 1920s, after which they were largely forgotten. Today, they are enjoying a small resurgence. They can be eaten raw in salads, pickled, or cooked. Escoffier suggests sautéing crosnes in butter, enjoying them à la crème or with fines herbes.
WHERE? Elegant Tavern Supper at the Beard House
WHEN? Tuesday, July 19, 2016
HOW? Warm Trout Terrine with Crosnes, Florida Rock Shrimp, and Smoked Tomato Consommé