Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

November 18, 2011


The Mysterious Sunchoke

I’ve been eyeing these knobbly tubers (also known as Jerusalem artichokes) at the farmers’ market for some time now. A few weeks ago a vendor noticed my interest and sliced off a little bit for me to try. Raw, it reminded me somewhat of jicama. Cooked, it supposedly resembles the flavor of artichoke. I finally made a purchase after seeing a recipe in last week’s Off Duty section (see my previous post) of the Wall Street Journal.

The recipe is an easy one with just a few ingredients. I should have gone with my gut instinct instead of following the recipe as it was written. It called for 2 teaspoons of Maldon Sea Salt which I thought sounded like a lot for the little pile of sunchokes that I had. Have you used this type of salt before? It is a natural sea salt with no additives and comes from England. It’s crystals are flaky and the taste is clean and fresh. This is my go to salt for sprinkling over caramel topped ice cream or the famous butterscotch budino.

One word of caution-it packs a lot more punch than your normal table salt or even kosher salt. At any rate I used the prescribed amount and the finished product was teetering on the edge of being too salty. I’m going to make sunchokes again and the next time I’ll reduce the salt. The sunchokes did remind me a somewhat of artichokes and the little bit of cream added a nice richness to the dish. I served this with roasted chicken but it would also be great with a grilled steak.

Sunchoke Smash

2 pounds sunchokes, rinsed and peeled
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Maldon Sea Salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Place the sunchokes in a heavy wide pot with a fitted lid. Stir in the salt, oil and 1/4 cup water. Cover the pot and set over medium-high heat. After about 7 minutes, uncover the pot and mash sunchokes with a sturdy whisk. Re-cover the pot. If liquid evaporates before the sunchokes are tender, add splashes of boiling water. Continue to cook until the centers of the largest chucnks are just shy of tender, about 20-25 minutes total. When done there should be almost no liquid left. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.

Spring In Tuscany-Cook With Panini Girl In Lucca


2 thoughts on “The Mysterious Sunchoke

  1. You know what’s funny? Apparently these Jerusalem artichokes originate from Canada! I read that in the last issue of the Food Network Magazine! I’ve never tried one but they are on my food bucket list 🙂

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