Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunchoke Puree

Today, with the temperature finally cracking 60 degrees, I visited the greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza for the first time since last year. Along with trying samples of three kinds of sausage (hot pork Italian sausage, duck salami, and turkey sausage), I got a couple of delicacies. I splurged on a leg of duck confit for $6 (after forbearing at the supermarket earlier this week, I gave in rationalizing that this one was straight from a real farm), and I bought a little over a pound of sunchokes, also for $6.

Sunchokes, which are really called Jerusalem artichokes but were evidently rebranded, as it were, for marketing purposes, have a subtly rich taste that I can only describe by saying it’s kind of like if you somehow infused a potato with the flavor of an artichoke. Texture-wise, they’re also much like potatoes, albeit less starchy, and can be cooked as potatoes are. The one thing that’s annoying about them: They are knobby like ginger roots, and therefore a pain to clean and peel. But once you take the time to prep them, this mashed-potato-style dish is very easy to make.

Again, start with about a pound of sunchokes; this serves 2 as a side dish.

  • Wash the chokes thoroughly and peel off the skin. You may have to slice off some of the smaller bumps to get a clean peel. But it’s not a big deal if you leave a few scraps in the nooks and crannies. I ended up cutting off some of the larger knobs and peeling them individually, then slicing the larger pieces in half so they would cook evenly with the smaller ones.

  • Put the peeled sunchokes in a pot of salted boiling water and cook, partially covered, until you can easily put a fork through them: about an hour.

  • While the sunchokes cook, roast some garlic: Slice the top off a bulb, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in tinfoil. Cook at 250° in a toaster oven until the cloves are soft and can be gently squeezed out of the skin.

  • When the sunchokes are cooked, put them in a bowl with 2 TBSP butter, a sprinkling of salt and fresh ground pepper, and about 6 cloves of roasted garlic. Use a potato masher to smush it all together.

  • Add about 1/3 cup milk and puree with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth-ish.

  • Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.

  • This can be served immediately or transferred to an oven-proof dish and reheated, uncovered, at 350°-ish.

    I prepared this alongside my second attempt at curry-rubbed lamb ribs, served this time with a mushroom-curry sour cream, plus garlicky sautéed red chard. Oh, and the first course was a salad consisting of the duck confit leg, chopped, over baby arugula with dried cherries and red onion, in a balsamic vinaigrette.

    OH MY GOD it was all so good. And considering the lamb was $4 and the red wine was $8.99, the $12 total for duck confit and sunchokes really didn’t seem like such a bad deal for a special Saturday night dinner for two, compared to a restaurant that would have easily run us close to $100 for similar fare (including the wine markup).

    Although I conceived of the meal as a let’s-have-a-special-dinner-with-no-particular-occasion thing, it turns out we did have something to celebrate: The Rangers made the playoffs!!! All around, a pretty great Saturday night.

  • 1 comment:

    1. This meal sucked just kidding it was the perfect end for the hockey season and think it was the best Kitty has done, in my opinion. Love RRRRRRRRRRRRRRooooooooooooooooobbbbbbb