Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunchokes Saltados

I have long heard about this amazingly delicous food known as the sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke, which is not either from Jerusalem or an artichoke at all, that is the edible root tuber of a variety of the sunflower.   I have seen recipes calling for these since my college food coop days and, since I am always on the lookout for new foods to try, for years I have searched high and low for these little guys to no avail.

Each week on Tuesdays I hit the Camden Avenue Provident Farm Market and purchase our non-homogenized, milk, free range eggs and the bulk of our veggies for the week.  It's a favorite activity of mine as I see the same faces each week; local, like-minded individuals who are interested in good food karma which is to say that what's good for the earth is also good for the local economy AND their bodies (as well as those of their family members).  About a month ago, I was so lucky as to finally, and at long last, stumble onto a table of beautiful sunchokes provided by the student garden club at Salisbury University.  I think I scared the poor, aspiring horticulturists beyond belief when I shrieked at the sight of them. 

Drawing some inspiration from Alejandra Schrader (her camarones saltados is what helped win her a spot on Season 2 of MasterChef!), I decided to use the flavorings of a shrimp stock as a base and go from there.  The result I am calling sunchokes saltados though it's Peruvian authenticity ends with the inspiration and the name as sunchokes are idigenous to North America.   They were delicious, nonetheless, and one of the main courses served at a Women's Wellness Dinner held at Yum! Fresh, Local Cafe in the end of March.

Sunchokes Saltados


1 pound sunchokes, well scrubbed and rinsed to remove grit and debris
1 large white onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
shrimp stock, approx 1/3 cup or water
½ cup crushed tomatoes (rec: Fire Roasted by Muir Glen)
2 teaspoons cumin
zest of 1 lime + juice of ½ lime
1/2 cup roasted red pepper
pinch of saffron threads
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, stems removed

1 - Peel the sunchokes, leaving some of the peel on and chop into 3/4" - 1" cubes/strips

2 - Add to heavy saute pan with onion and olive oil and cook over medium to medium-high heat for for 5 minutes or until beginning to soften and become fragrant. 

3 - Add tomatoes and shrimp stock (or water; but shrimp stock will have far more flavor); cover with tight fitting lid and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until sunchokes are almost completely fork-tender.

4 - Add cumin, lime juice + zest, roasted pepper and saffron threads.  Continue to simmer, lid off, for just a couple minutes more until sauce thickens up. 

5 - Stir in fresh cilantro and serve with quinoa also cooked in shrimp stock.  

Excellent fresh, reheated for leftovers or even as a cold salad.

Recipe makes 4 servings.  Per serving:

nutrition facts

Above, sunchokes saltados, with quinoa, shrimp
with kale pesto and a perfectly poached egg.