Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gifts from the Underground

I'm a beautiful flower in the summer, a tasty food in the fall and a permaculturist's dream. What am I? A sunchoke aka Jerusalum Artichoke! Sunchokes are a native of the US and is a species of the sunflower producing an edible tuber beneath the stalk. This was the first crop of the sunchoke on the farm and they are the biggest sunchokes I have ever seen, huge knobby clusters gorgeousness. Sunchokes can be eaten raw, but in my opinion, are sweeter and more delicious cooked. They are a perennial although they need to be kept under control since they are prone to spread and will take over if given the space and opportunity. I haven't had a lot of experience cooking with sunchokes but this recipe was pretty yum.
Sunchoke Fritters
Chop celery and onion very fine. Grate the sunchoke and mix together with salt, pepper and some flour to bind. Heat oil and brown on each side. My first batch was done with medium to low heat and it took a while to brown. My impatience got the better of me and the second batch I turned it up a bit and also didn't add as much oil. The first batch was much better as the slow cooking allowed the super sweetness to be released, not only from the sunchoke but the onion and celery as well. The oil also creates a crispy edge. Very tasty indeed!

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