While interning here at Everyday Food, I've taken to walking to my subway stop through the nearby Chelsea Market, which is to my food-loving self what Talladega is for NASCAR fans, or the mall is to preteens. I spotted these little guys at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange inside the Chelsea Market. They actually go by two international aliases. Any guesses as to what they are? UPDATE: Check out the answer after the jump!
These tiny tubers are called crosnes (pronounced crow’nz). At first glance, they look like larval caterpillars or mutant peanuts, but they're really much more dignified than they appear. The Chinese introduced the French to crosnes sometime in the 1800s, and soon after they were renamed for the town where they were first cultivated. Although some people call them Chinese artichokes, they're actually much more closely related to the mint family.
The consensus amongst most chefs and food bloggers is crosnes are similar in taste and texture to jicama or turnips with their pale, juicy interiors. They also say you can eat them raw by themselves or in salads, but, in my Southern-influenced opinion, a little butter and salt couldn't hurt either.