February 24, 2011

Mashed sunchokes

This is hardly a "recipe" (and the photo looks pretty bland!) but I wanted to include this post in my blog anyway because this was my first experience with the sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke. What you eat is the tuber of a variety of sunflower. I bought a bunch of these and I cooked up most of them for this mash and saved a few to add raw to a salad. You can eat sunchokes raw, boiled, fried, roasted -- basically anyway you'd eat any sort of root vegetable. The taste was slightly sweet and the texture (when raw) reminded me or a water chestnut. The skin is edible, but you can peel them if you want. I preferred them raw in a salad (with winter greens, tangerine supremes, and toasted pine nuts) but my husband preferred them in this mash. I wanted to keep my use of the sunchoke simple so that I could really taste them. I really love trying new produce. They are in season and available now, so keep a look out and give them a try if you see them. This recipe is a side dish for 2-4 people. Don't they look like knobs of ginger root?

Mashed sunchokes
about 1/2 - 3/4 lb sunchokes, peeled and diced
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon milk or cream
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
water for boiling

Place the diced sunchokes in a medium saucepan and cover them with cold water. Put a lid on the pan and cook over medium heat until they come to a boil. Continue to boil until they are fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes.

When they are soft, drain the water, leaving a little water in the pan. Add the butter, cream, salt, and pepper and mash with a potato masher to your desired texture. Taste for seasonings and add more milk if needed. Serve hot.

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