Lotus Root & Jerusalem Artichoke Bake with Leeks
This is a recipe I always make with my girlfriend Alicia Silverstone. We both go nuts over it. It is scrumptiously satisfying and fortifying without being too heavy. Lotus roots are incredible vegetables (yes, the exotic and auspicious lotus flower is from the same plant) which are prized for fortified, balancing nutrition. Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes are a low-starch root vegetable closely related to sunflowers with mild flavor, like a potato. Some sliced leek, garlic, and a touch of oil, shoyu, and salt are the perfect, simple match to let the flavors bloom.
Lotus roots are unexpectedly plain from the outside. They grow in segments (4- to 6-inches long and 1-1/2- to 2-inches wide) with smoothish pale brown skin. Cut across the body reveals exquisitely beautiful sections.
Fresh lotus root is available in good natural markets and Asian markets. Dried lotus root may also be used, which is sometimes easier to find in the Japanese or Macrobiotic section of health food stores. The dried root must first be soaked in warm filtered water for several hours to reconstitute. It is not quite the same as fresh, but is quite delicious.
2 lotus roots (4- to 5-inches each), scrubbed or peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
6 jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 leek, trimmed and sliced ¼-inch thick- save upper green leaves for soup
4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, raw sesame oil or mixture of both
2 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
1 tablespoon finely shredded ginger
2-4 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press or minced finely
(depending on size of cloves and love of garlic- use even more if you love it! the flavor mellows with long baking)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Toss together prepared lotus root, Jerusalem artichoke and leek.
Mix oil, shoyu, maple (if desired- it lifts the flavor nicely), garlic, ginger and just a pinch of salt. It is advisable to use just a bit of salt and add a sprinkle after baking to avoid over-doing it.
Toss into prepared ingredients.
Add a bit more oil and shoyu as necessary to coat nicely- if using more vegetables, more of these ingredients may be necessary to achieve desired taste
Let stand to marinate at least 20 minute to absorb flavor. They are happy to be stirred occasionally. The longer it marinates, the deeper the flavor. - This may be done overnight in the refrigerator . If marinating in the fridge, let stand on the counter 20 minutes to come to room temperature before baking.
Spread on a baking sheet or in a glass casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown. Stir the veggies with a wooden spoon for even cooking 2 to 3 times while baking (after 15 minutes or so, and so forth)
This dish can be baked for even longer to get a nice crisp bake (Using a bit more oil in the marinade will also result in a crispier, crunchier bake).
Season with salt to taste.
Best served hot and fresh.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Leftovers may be freshened by drizzling with a bit of oil and baking for 10 minutes.