It’s always a treat to come across an unrecognizable fruit or vegetable at the farmers market. The last time I was out I spotted these small, ginger-like nubs I had never seen. Those little nubs turned out to be sunchokes, which are also called Jerusalem Artichokes. I’m not sure how common sunchokes are, but I highly recommend experimenting with them if you can find them.
If I had to describe a sunchoke, I can easily say it’s like a cross between an artichoke and a potato, but it looks a lot more like ginger as I mentioned before. Here is a photo:
These babies are flavorful and hearty, and a vegetable I honestly think most people would enjoy, even skeptics and picky eaters. Sunchokes can be served as a side dish to a meal, but I enjoyed them in these two recipes:
Sunchoke and Roasted Garlic Soup
-1 lb sunchokes, scrubbed, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
-1 russet potato, medium
-1 yellow onion, sliced
-6 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (adjust if you prefer more mild)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-6 cups chicken broth or water (use bouillon cube for flavoring if using water)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toast garlic cloves in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large pot. When hot, add the sunchokes, potato, onion, crushed red pepper flakes, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Saute about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are lightly browned and softened. Add the garlic.
- Add the water or broth, more salt, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes minimum. I prefer to keep it cooking for a few hours for an extra flavorful soup.
- Process the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender either until smooth or almost smooth, depending on whether you like some chunks of veggies. Check for seasoning and serve.
Broccoli di Ciccio and Warm Sunchoke Salad
-1/4 lb sunchokes, scrubbed, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
-Three handfuls of broccoli di Ciccio
– Pomegranate seeds
-Honey goat cheese (or other favorite goat cheese)
-Handful of almonds, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix broccoli di Ciccio in a large salad bowl with the seeds, almonds, cheese, lemon, remaining olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss and put in the fridge covered.
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil. In a bowl, mix sunchokes with about 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove salad from the fridge and combine with the sunchokes. Serve.