They’re ginger, said the guy at the cash register next door after the lady who was ringing me up asked him what they were. No, they’re not, I said. Sunchokes, I iterated. Nah, they’re ginger, he insisted. The lady in between us was confused enough to ask the manager to come over who then gave her the product code for sunchokes and then rang me up at $3.50 a pound. That was my good deed of the day–insisting a higher price rather than accepting what ginger would have cost me at 99-cents a pound.
Now sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, do look like ginger because they’re both from the tubular family but they are actually a substitute for potatoes because of their consistency. The only difference is that it contains inulin, and not starch, to store energy, and since the human digestive system cannot break down inulin, you’ll be, well, hoping you ate ginger instead.
You’ve most likely seen them on menus roasted or puréed in the springtime, so I wanted to find a new way to eat them. Most recipes don’t require you to peel off their brown paper-thin skin when you roast them, but I peeled them anyway since I wanted to eat them raw. They’re a little sticky to the touch when peeled–sappy even–but that wouldn’t matter as soon as you marinate them in the dressing here. I served them with some leftover glazed ham from Easter and tossed some frisée leaves in the same dressing to make a quick and easy lunch.
juice and zest from half a lemon
small shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp whole-grain mustard
salt and pepper
3 small to medium-sized sunchokes, scrubbed clean, peeled, thinly sliced
1. Make the salad dressing. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and zest with the shallot and mustard. Drizzle the canola oil while whisking until you have enough oil sufficient for your sunchokes. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the sunchokes to marinate them in the dressing for about 30 minutes before serving at room temperature or chilled.