Sunchokes are abundant at winter growers’ markets, and they’re so funny looking, I always have to get some. They are the root of a sunflower, often called Jerusalem artichokes, but it’s thought that this name is a corruption of the Italian word girasole, for sunflower. But I never really figured out what to do with them – a creamy soup seems like cheating somehow, because anything tastes great when slathered in cream. So… when in doubt, roast it!
Roasting is a reliable technique for bringing out great flavor in any vegetable, and sunchokes are no exception. They take on a really sweet, caramelized flavor much like sweet potatoes. Don’t eat too many, though, if you’ve never tried them before – they contain a starch called inulin, which doesn’t agree with some people. For a touch of freshness, I added a little gremolata made with fresh parsley, pecans and orange zest. Parsley is a very hardy herb, but also pretty easy to grow indoors, so it’s a wonderful winter flavor.