Try Versatile Sunchokes

The sunchoke is the tasty, knobby, root of a sunflower.

If you’re bored with the same vegetable and tuber routine, it’s time to try something new — like Jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes. Like many tubers, sunchokes look a little strange. But when it comes to food, looks can often be deceiving. The sunchoke is the tasty, knobby, root of a sunflower.

As a healthy addition to our diet, sunchokes are a low-glycemic food and possess a significant amount of protein, with very little starch. They also are rich in inulin, a natural fructose type of carbohydrate. Inulin is thought to be better tolerated by those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

When shopping for sunchokes, look for firm, brown-colored tubers. If they are beginning to darken, they are not fresh. After you get them home, store in paper towels in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Don’t wash your sunchokes until you are ready to use them, as moisture can lead to spoiling. Sunchokes have a thin skin and don’t need to be peeled.

Sunchokes are extremely versatile. You can use them in the same way you typically use a potato. They have a crunchy texture and are delicious raw. When roasted, their nutty flavor comes out. Steamed sunchokes can stand alone or can be mixed with other vegetables, used in a gratin or to make a delicious soup.

Try this recipe for Sunchoke Chips With Parmesan and Parsley as a delicious alternative to potato chips. This is just the first step on your adventure to discover all things Jerusalem artichoke!

Sunchoke Chips with Parmesan and Parsley

2 pounds unpeeled sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes), scrubbed

Vegetable oil (for frying)

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

1. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Slice sunchokes into thin rounds (about 1/16-inch thick), immediately dropping into bowl of water to prevent browning. Rinse and drain 3 times to remove some of the starch for a crisper chip. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Pour enough oil into a large, deep skillet to reach depth of 1/2 inch. Submerge bulb of deep-fry thermometer into the oil; lean top of thermometer against skillet rim. Heat oil to 375 F. Mix salt, Parmesan and parsley together in small bowl, blending well, and set aside.

3. Working in batches, fry sunchoke slices until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a skimmer, transfer chips to a wire rack placed over a paper-lined baking pan to drain. While the chips are hot, sprinkle them with the Parmesan and salt mixture. The chips won’t be crispy immediately out of the fryer. After a few minutes, they will crisp up. Mound chips in bowl and serve. Serves 8.

TO BAKE THE CHIPS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Line two baking sheets with foil and lightly grease with cooking oil spray. Place the slices in a single layer on the two sheets. Spray each slice with oil, then sprinkle salt on top.

3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. If they aren’t golden brown and crisp, bake them in 3 to 5 minute increments until done. Sprinkle with the topping of your choice.

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