Peter Gilmore’s stunning book from his Sydney restaurant, Quay, made a reappearance this week as I came across Jerusalem artichokes while out and about. I searched frantically through my collection to find a recipe to do them justice. Fortunately this is a far simpler recipe than I’m used to when it comes to Gilmore’s cooking with artichokes stuffed with Toma Della Roca cheese simply finished with toasted almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and a rosemary foam, an exciting sounding vegetarian starter.
Toma Della Roca unfortunately is a tricky cheese to get hold of. Made in the Piedmont area and seemingly only available from that region at £20 per 250g. In the interest of money saving without compromising on quality I opted for a cornish goats cheese. It is deliciously soft and with similar flavour characteristics to Toma Della Roca.
I placed the artichokes in a steamer to cook for 15-20 minutes as they were quite large. After steaming there’s virtually no chance of oxidisation so take your time peeling the skin away. Most of the skin simply pulled away leaving a white artichoke similar to a ratte potato in appearance. I cut the artichokes into bite-sized pieces and heated a pan of olive oil ready for shallow frying.
Frying the artichokes results in a beautiful golden appearance. At this point though the artichokes were still slightly underdone in the centre. I placed the pieces into a hot oven wrapped in foil to steam through.
Meanwhile almonds and pine nuts sizzled away in clarified butter, I didn’t bother with the sunflower seeds.
The rosemary foam is basically a vegetable stock infused with rosemary and blended with lecite powder helping to achieve a stable foam creating both a visual aspect and a light flavour to compliment the cheese and nut combination. I had run out of lecite powder so decided to add a little double cream to the stock and placed it in a foam gun.
After making slits in each artichoke and inserting a slice of cheese the dish was good to go…
I had a moment of panic as my foam decided not to alter from a liquid state so in the end I had to place it in a pan and foam it up just enough with a hand blender to hold for the final dish. The artichokes and nuts complete the dish.
It’s a simple plate of food but striking in presentation. I loved the flavours completely. Rosemary, goats cheese and artichoke go perfectly together with the nuts adding texture and richness. Simple it may be but it’s an enjoyable starter using quality ingredients.
Quay by Peter Gilmore is available to purchase here.