Jerusalem artichoke soup with seared scallops

By Simon Arkless, Head Chef, Terrace Restaurant, St Leonards Vineyard Café, Thousand Pound Wine Bar & Store

Serves Four

Autumn is probably my favourite time of year when it comes to food. As much as I love the food available in the summer months, like, tomatoes, figs and stone fruit, I can’t help but looking forward to the weather cooling down a little and with it the arrival of autumn’s food offerings. 

Autumn generally sees an improvement in seafood, as the cooler water improves the quality of shellfish, especially oysters and mussels, which aren’t at their best in the warmer summer months. I always look forward to foraging for wild mushrooms at this time of year, and saffron milk caps and slippery jacks often make their way onto the menus at Terrace Restaurant and Thousand Pound Wine Bar & Store. Chestnuts and apples also appear at this time of year and feature on our menus, as they are abundant locally in Stanley and Bright. Although I love to use all these ingredients, there is a particular root vegetable that I really look forward to using in this season – the Jerusalem artichoke.

It’s not an artichoke at all. In fact, it’s a relative of the sunflower (it is thought that ‘Jerusalem’ is a bastardisation of ‘girasole’, the Italian word for sunflower). This humble little tuber resembles fresh ginger in appearance (especially some of the knobbly varieties; over the years, I’ve seen many chefs confuse the two, especially when grabbing them from the cool room in a hurry). It has a crunchy texture and a sweet nutty flavour. It is very versatile and can be used raw or fried till crisp, and it can be roasted or peeled and puréed. It pairs very well with numerous different ingredients including mushrooms, beef, game, fish and shellfish. 

The recipe here is a classic, pairing seared scallops with sweet, nutty Jerusalem artichoke soup. Enjoy!


  • 1000g of Jerusalem artichoke
  • peeled and finely sliced
  • 50g of unsalted butter
  • Olive Oil
  • 800ml of whole milk
  • 800ml of water
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 small bunch of finely chopped chives
  • 12 scallops
  • Walnut oil


1. Melt the butter in a large pan with a splash of oil.

2. Add the peeled and finely sliced artichokes and a pinch of salt and cook, covered, over a medium heat for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the artichokes are cooked but not coloured.

3. Add the milk and water, then cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to boil.

Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.

4. Blitz the soup in a blender and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt or sugar.

5. Heat a non- stick frying pan till very hot, add a little vegetable oil (clarified butter or ghee is the ideal medium to fry in but can be difficult to source) season the scallops with sea salt flakes and a little freshly ground pepper and sear over high heat (I like to caramelise the scallops on one side for flavour and turn over for a few seconds before removing from the pan) arrange 3 scallops in each bowl pour the hot soup around, scatter chopped chives over and drizzle a little walnut oil over the top and serve.