The one where Chelsea teaches you about sunchokes

2018-05-01_1601

Hi! It’s been a few, I know I know. 12 weeks of work travel, listing and selling, then moving only to move again in 6 weeks will do that to you. It’s been a complicated 2018.

So, sunchokes. “What, that creepy gnarled thing?! I thought that was just weird looking ginger” you may think to yourself. Next time you see a bin of sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) at Whole Foods or a farmer’s market, trust me and load up on a couple pounds. I know, they look like the things you plant to grow tulips and not remotely edible. But under the thin brown skin lies the sweet and starchy yet surprisingly vegetal meat of this weirdo tuber, and I’m going to teach you how to eat them. They’re easy to deal with, and will impress the heck out of all of your friends. Soigne hand strong.

Sunchokes can be manipulated into a variety of textures, and cooked in almost any way you can think of. A truly psycho like me might get super inspired and make an entire composed dish made up of different preparations of the vegetable, white cloth farm-to-table style. Here’s a quick list of things you can do with sunchokes:

  • Shave them raw into a salad for a clean and crunchy element
  • Boil them until they can be pierced with a knife, then puree them with some half and half, salt, and butter. Satisfying like mashed potatoes, but infinitely more complex.
  • Boil them until they can easily be pierced with a knife, cool slightly, then smash with the back of a pan. Pan fry in butter and olive oil until the skin is crispy.
  • Boil them until they can easily be pieced with a knife (do I sense a pattern here?) then blend in your Vitamix with chicken broth, roasted garlic and onions, and a splash of half and half. Garnish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of you most expensive olive oil.
  • Cut them into chips with a mandolin and deep fry or roast in the oven or air fryer until they’re crispy. They’d taste dope with creme fraiche and caviar…or canned french onion dip on top if that’s more your pace.
  • Chop about a pound in a food processor with the white part of a leek, an egg, some breadcrumbs, garlic, and parsley. Form into patties and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Pan fry until crispy.
  • Make a hash by shredding sunchokes in a food processor then tossing it in a skillet with some chopped onions. Top with a runny egg and chopped herbs.
  • Cut into even chunks and roast in the oven or air fryer. This is my favorite preparation, since you get to experience both the creamy flesh and crispy skins that make the sunchoke such a treat. In fact, I’ve got a recipe all ready for you!

Roasted Sunchokes with Classic Gremolata

You’ll Need

  • 2 lbs of sunchokes (or however much you picked up)
  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1/3 of a cup of grated parmigiana. Not the garbage in a green can.
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (or if you’re living dat air fryer life, retrieve it out of your cabinet and plug that baby in).
  2. Rinse the sunchokes and cut off any dried patches on them. Don’t peel the sunchokes! The skin gives it all its texture. I’m fine with a good rinse under water, but scrub them down with a vegetable brush if that makes you feel better. Cut them in halves or quarters (or leave small ones whole), so they’re all pretty uniform in size–about 1 inch pieces is good.
  3. Toss them in olive oil and a healthy dash of salt. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or so. When they’re finished, you should be able to pierce through them with a knife, but the texture should be a bit pliable and leathery, if that makes sense. Think of a great roasted carrot–no hard crunchy texture left, but it won’t fall apart the way say, a boiled potato would. Comprende? (Ps, if you’re using an air fryer, roast them at 350 for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through).
  4. While your sunchokes are roasting, we’ll make the gremolata. Zest your lemon (I know you’re an adult and have a big kid microplane), peel your clove of garlic, grated your parmigiana, chop the bulk of the parsley stems off and discard. From here you can toss the garlic, lemon zest, cheese, and parsley into a food processor and pulse until its minced and all incorporated together. It should look like delicious green confetti, not saucy like a pesto. My food processor is packed up in storage for the next 6 weeks, so lucky me gets to mince everything with a knife.
  5. Serve your sunchokes with the gremolata sprinkled on top. I’m serving this on the side of some simple oven roasted halibut. Cheffy AF with minimal effort. You go Glen Coco!

Remix The Dish: You can follow this exact recipe with baby potatoes or fingerlings–just be sure to roast them long enough! The gremolata would taste delicious over steak, chicken, fish, or any other roasted vegetables. Another good play on this would be to toss the roasted sunchokes with olive tapenade, orange zest, and chopped parsley, or straight up jarred pesto if you don’t want to work that hard.

Why yes, I did have to make Alex an entirely different meal. He tasted a sunchoke though, I’ll give him that.

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