Weird and unusual foods always end up in my market bag. Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes found their way from a farm in Central Wisconsin to my fridge this weekend and to the dinner plate tonight. Left from last year’s harvest, the woman at the farmers’ market promised they were simple to prepare and are a stand-up substitute for potatoes. She also promised it wasn’t ginger root or horseradish, although it does have a striking resemblance, doesn’t it?
Dinner ended over an hour ago, and I still don’t have a great way to characterize them. I chose to simply crisp them in a pan with garlic and top with parmesan. The result is a classic case of ‘you have to eat it to believe it.’ She was right to say they cook similar to a potato, and right about the solid menu option in the toughest parts of the locavore season. But the taste is definitely not potato; it’s nutty, earthy, and sweet all at the same time. My only wish now was that I had bought more!
Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Parmesan
1 lb. Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed
1 Tbsp. sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1. After washing and scrubbing artichokes, carefully slice into 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. Drizzle oil in a sautÃ© pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sautÃ© 1-2 minutes.
2. Place artichokes in pan and reduce heat so that they sizzle, but do not burn. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When artichokes are softened, increase heat for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly until evenly browned and edges begin to crisp.
3. Salt and pepper to taste, and top with parmesan. Serve warm.