Ever heard of a sunchoke?

by gabbybates

Neither had I, until yesterday at the Ballard Farmers Market when I saw some tall bearded man practically upturning the entire crate into his eco-friendly tote bag.

It's like a weekly circus... for food!

It’s like a weekly circus… for food!

I asked him, as one must ask tall bearded men so enthralled by mysterious vegetables, “Excuse me. What do you do with those?”

Enter scene from Forest Gump. “Well you can make roasted sunchokes, sunchoke parsnip puree, slice em up raw, make grilled sunchoke, sunchokes on a salad, sunchoke soup, sunchoke key lime pie…” He went on and on, and before I knew it I had a handful of the ugly things and I was giving Andrew a look that said Trust Me. I have the endorsement of a Tall Bearded Man with an Eco-Friendly Tote.

Oftentimes the ugliest vegetables taste the best... They've had to compensate with personality.

Oftentimes the ugliest vegetables taste the best… They’ve had to compensate with personality.

Sunchokes: Otherwise known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are the root vegetable at the bottom of a pretty yellow flower. They look a lot like ginger root, and raw they taste a lot like a water chestnut. Cooked, they taste like a much tastier potato.

Slicing sunchokes

We prepared them very simply (as I tend to prepare all things) by slicing them fairly thin and coating with olive oil, fresh ground sea salt, chopped garlic, and fresh rosemary.  Baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until they were soft on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside. (We also saved some raw for chopping up to add crunch to a spinach salad.)

Served with some roasted balsamic beets and baked salmon with ginger and soy. Two thumbs up.

Sunchokes, beets, and Asian salmon

Moral of story: Don’t be afraid of sunchokes! If you like potatoes, you’ll LOVE them. And personally, I might even like them better raw.

Until next time,