Friday, February 12, 2010

A Conflicted Love

Ever found something that you loved so much you kind of wish you never discovered in the first place? That's my dilemma with the sunchokes I finally found. Roasted, they are so amazingly delicious that I ate my way through almost the whole bag, but now I have none left - and nowhere to get them but downtown Toronto.

Roasting the 'chokes to my favourite point - with a crispy, crunchy exterior and a tender, starchy middle - was dead simple, once I found the basic instructions on The Kitchn. I served them with roasted green beans and pan-seared tilapia tonight, dusted with sea salt and cracked pepper and finished with a hint of maple syrup. Perfection!

For roughly 8 oz of the tubers (in no way related to "real" or globe artichokes, FYI), this is what I did:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F, line a cookie sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Wash the sunchokes well, unless the skin is really thick and rough don't bother peeling them - the peel gets super-delicious like on steak fries!
  3. Slice the sunchokes into roughly 1/4" thick pieces (I gave up on really "slicing" and tried for a roughly equal chop). Toss onto the cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and coarse black pepper.
  4. Pop the sheet into the oven and roast for 25 minutes, stirring / shaking the pan to redistribute the slices halfway through.
  5. Switch the heat to "broil" and continue cooking the sunchokes 3-4 minutes, until beginning to get dark brown and crusty.
  6. If you want to add green beans like I did, top, tail and halve two good handfuls of them and add them to the cookie sheet(s) for the last 10-15 minutes of roasting. If you want them extra-crisp and roasty keep them under the broiler when the sunchokes are finishing.
  7. Drizzle with the barest touch of maple syrup and eat up!
If anyone has any tips on growing these in the GTA, I'm all ears! I have 2 saved and would love to grow my own! Apparently they're pretty self-reliant once you get them started, but I don't know if my storebought ones will cut it as the "foster" plants (even though they are organic). Seriously - they're my new obsession, and since my neighbourhood sucks for finding these babies, my backyard is the next logical choice!

FYI - per 8 oz of delicious, nutty-sweet-starchy goodness, this is what you get (thanks, CalorieKing!)

Calories 172 (720 kJ)
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sat. Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 9mg < 0.1%
Total Carbs. 39.5g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3.6g 15%
Sugars 21.8g
Protein 4.5g
Calcium 31.8mg
Potassium 973mg

And on a totally random, non-food related topic, I got my co-op placement letters today! I can't wait to start documenting my travails at the Boys and Girls Club a few towns over, and sharing any and all stories from the retirement home near me too! I'm so excited to be getting anything off the standard "retirement home and that's it" theory of my program!


  1. Sounds delicious: "The peel gets super-delicious like on steak fries!" Thanks for posting!

  2. They are really really easy to grow, so easy that some people call them a weed.

    Pop them in the ground in the spring when the soil starts to warm and they will grow quickly into six foot high plants. Harvest in the autumn - if your winters aren't too bad then leave them in the ground until you need them, you can use a mulch to keep the frost off or else dig them, brush the dirt off and keep in the salad drawer in a plastic bag with a few airholes punched in it, they keep well but check regularly in case of bad sunchokes! You will probably find they come up again in the same place the following year too, very difficult to get all the baby tubers out.

  3., co-op placement letters: you're going to be working with food at a retirement home and a boys/girls club? Cool!

  4. I can't agree with you, on these things. Bleh!

    That said, how do you feel about roasted brussels sprouts?

  5. Oh, I so love them roasted as well & always look forward to when they show up in my CSA box. Hey that must mean I can grow them here


Thanks for the feedback!