If you've been to the winter farmer's market this year, you probably noticed the abundance of knobby, gnarly, tubular root vegetables, and most of them you may have never cooked before. Frankly, they probably scare you a little bit. It's okay, don't be afraid. They don't bite. Except for maybe Green Meat Radishes, who knows what these sneaky bastards are up to.
The internet makes it easy to find recipes when you've never cooked something before, and sunchokes are no exception. Sunchokes, aka Jerusalem Artichokes (neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke, discuss amongst yourselves), look sort of like a big piece of ginger or maybe a really weird potato. They are in the tuber family, but much less well-known and perhaps suffer from a bit of a bad rap.*
Sunchokes, like all of it's tuber-brethren, do well roasted, sautéed and in soups. So rather than follow any one specific recipe, I just decided to slice them thin and oven-roast until crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Then I drizzled over a little leftover garlic-green onion oil I had made the other day for a celeriac green apple soup.
3/4 lb sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) - this was about 2 enormous sunchokes
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Scrub scrubby scrub scrub your sunchokes to remove any dirt. Mine were particularly knobby, so I cut off the knobs and scrubbed again because quite a bit of dirt was hiding in the nooks and crannies.
3. Slice thin, and try to get the slices right about the same size (maybe 1/8 inch?) so that they all finish cooking at the same time.
4. Toss with the 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and the 1/2 tsp salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, then spread out on a sheet pan (I lined it with parchment paper for easier cleanup).
5. Roast until browned and tender, about 35-40 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.
6. Serve as a tasty side dish instead of the usual potatoes.
*I probably won't ever reference stomach problems ever again, because let's face it, who wants to think about that when reading a food blog and looking at photographs of tasty food? But, if I want to be seen as a trustworthy source for recipes and a champion of lesser-known local veggies, I would be remiss if I did not warn you to eat only a little bit of sunchokes first until you're sure that it won't have ill effects on your tummy. Otherwise, I would be leading you like clueless, adorable baby lambs to the (gastrointestinal) slaughter, and that's just not fair to you.