The Union Square Greenmarket was pretty apple and squash-heavy this morning (no clementines yet here in New York) but we did find one unexpected gem. What are these caterpillar-like vegetables?
They are called crosnes (pronounced CRONE), named after the town in France where they were first grown after being imported from China. They are also called Chinese artichokes. Crosnes are tubers that are in season during the winter and have a nutty, artichoke-like flavor, according to the handout the farmer gave us.
These little vegetables are smaller than your pinky finger and have a quirky shape- we weirdly thought of miniature, fat baby thighs. See that hand moving around in the bin? It was scooping up huge handfuls (almost half the crosnes on display) for a guy who sounded like he was taking them back to his restaurant. This was at 8:30 a.m., so you may need to arrive early to get your share.
The farmer told us we could eat crosnes raw, in a salad, sauté them with some butter, or roast them in the oven. The printed material he gave us (which came from Chow) says to rub with kosher salt to remove the skin, but it also notes that most of the flavor is in the skin, so it's a little confusing. We don't think we'd bother trying to remove it.
Have you ever eaten crosnes?
Related: Seasonal Spotlight: Jerusalem Artichokes a.k.a. Sunchokes
(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)