Sunchokes (a k a Jerusalem artichokes, from the Italian name, girasole articiocco) are one of those items you’re more likely to find at the farmers’ market than at the grocery store. These homely little tubers of the sunflower resemble ginger root and can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw, they have a mild, faintly nutty flavor and crunchy texture; try them julienned or sliced paper thin. Cooking deepens their nutty character. Sunchokes have a thin skin, so don’t bother peeling them–just give them a gentle scrub with a vegetable brush. With a sprinkling of lemon zest and parsley, this side dish pairs well with roast chicken or pan-seared fish.
Early-season sunchokes are more tender and cook more quickly. As they move through the season, older 'chokes will get bigger and need more cooking time, so let them steam a bit longer before uncovering the pan and turning up the heat.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1-1/2 pounds sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
- Finely chopped Italian parsley
Heat oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Whisk in sugar. As soon as the sugar melts, take the pan off the heat and carefully whisk in the water (mixture will splatter a bit). Immediately add sunchokes to pan, tossing to coat. Return pan to heat, cover, and cook 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until sunchokes are nearly tender.
Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and saute sunchokes 5 minutes or until tender. Toss the sunchokes frequently with a wide spatula so the sunchokes brown nicely but don't burn. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley.