I first tried sunchokes at a restaurant. They were in a salad: raw, sliced thin, with escarole and lots of lemon and salt and pepper. I don’t remember much else about the salad– I think it was pretty straightforward– other than that it was delicious, and that I was bummed when it was taken off the menu. I sort of forgot about sunchokes until recently, when I tried them again at the farmers’ market. A seller was offering samples of the vegetable– small chunks sautéed with fresh turmeric and some kind of herb which I forget (sage maybe?). I decided to buy a bag and bring it home to the fridge, where it sat and sat. And sat. Weeks later–after the holiday madness– I pulled out the bag and hesitantly inspected the tubers, which, to my surprise and delight, looked exactly the same as when I had bought them. Which is to say, like funky little ginger potato hybrids. I wasn’t entirely sure as to how to prep them and while I remembered that the sunchoke I had sampled at the market was unpeeled, I decided I should probably do a little research. I’m glad I did. Yes, the skin is indeed technically edible, however, when I learned that the sunchoke, or Jerusalem artichoke, is also known as the “fartichoke,” I figured it best to err on the side of caution. After scrubbing the sunchokes, I peeled off the skin, rinsed them again (to remove even more excess starch– or at least that was the idea), then patted them dry. I roasted them until they were browned and a little crispy yet also meltingly tender. Served over pasta with lemon and parsley, they made for a very tasty, very gratifying dinner.
1 lb sunchokes, peeled, rinsed, and dried, cut into ¼” slices
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed with a chef’s knife handle
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt and pepper, to taste
½ lemon, the juice and zest
½ cup parsley, chopped
12 oz pasta (fusili, bowties, and gemelli are all good choices)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, toss sunchoke slices with 1 tbsp olive oil, some salt and pepper, and garlic. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet.
- Let sunchokes roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until lightly browned. Then remove from oven and drizzle with the lemon juice.
- While sunchokes are roasting, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- Combine the pasta and sunchokes, drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and sprinkle on the parsley and lemon zest. Taste for seasonings.
Yield: About 4 servings