Sometimes it takes a few tries to get a recipe right -- today was it. These little tasty and buttery gems - thinly sliced and sauteed sunchokes finished with fresh rosemary and Kosher salt - are packed with flavor and amazinly easy to cook. The secret to sunchokes is to start with a medium high flame to melt a generous amount of butter to sizzling. Add uniformly and thinly sliced sunchokes being sure not to crowd the pan. When they begin to brown, turn them over to cook the other side. Finish with chopped, fresh rosemary and a generous sprinkle of course salt.
The only farmer who seems to be consistently offering sunchokes in New York City as far I can tell is Muddy River Farms at Union Square's Friday Market (I also bought some celery root at Muddy River and in my mind's eye am crafting a recipe for a dairy-free celeriac soup flavored with tart apples). I also like their funky, fun Adirondack Blue potatoes which I've had before.
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Accounts of the vegetable Jerusalem Artichokes, a gnarly edible tuber, say they are related to sunflowers (hence the nickname sunchokes or sunroots). Historians trace these crunchy potato-like roots to the Northeast Indians who cultivated them some 400-500 years ago. Frenchmen Samuel de Champlain discovered them in Cape Cod in 1605 and helped popularize them in France. Neither from Jerusalem nor artichokes, the sunchoke is a nutritious treat with the crunch of a water chestnut and taste of an artichoke. Read more about the recorded history of sunchokes, which includes Lewis and Clark's expedition, World War II, how to grow and how to prepare sunchokes here.
HEALTH NOTES Sunchokes have a whopping 650 mg of potassium per cup, are high in iron and fiber. Sunchokes contain inulin a low calorie carbohydrate that also acts as a prebiotic to aid digestion (similar to the prebiotics of yogurt).