Today's freshness comes to us by way of a Blue Apron recipe. One of my favorite things about Blue Apron is that even if all the meals aren't home runs, there is usually one element of each meal that I love and would never have tried on my own. Sunchokes are not usually in my weekday repertoire. I often passed right by them in the produce aisle because I simply didn't know what to do with them. That is until Blue Arpon had this wonderful side salad to a steak dinner that we sort of ruined.
This salad is wonderful for many reasons. One, it's ridiculously easy to make; two, it has only four simple ingredients; and three, it's really delicious and good for you! It has so many textures between the warm, roasted sunchokes, the fresh, raw sunchokes and the crunchy sunflower seeds. All of those textures combine with the brightness of the lemon and the mint to make a perfect balanced and hearty side salad.
Sunchokes are in season in January, February and March. If you are a little confused, they are also known as Jerusalem artichokes. According to Bon Appetit, their name comes from the word girasole, the Italian word for sunflowers, since the plant this root vegetable comes from resembles a sunflower. But, somehow English speakers turned girasole into 'Jerusalem.' and then added 'artichoke'" because they taste similar to artichokes. Then in the 60's, a farmer wanted to make the vegetable sound more appealing and renamed it sunchoke. I'm with the farmer on this one and I’m sticking with ‘sunchoke.’ They are a great source of Iron and are rich in inulin, a carbohydrate linked with good intestinal health. All this goodness comes at a price - they can make you a little gassy! So, this is not a salad to impress a first date with - you've been warned! But if you are in a comfortable dining environment, make this salad - it's so easy and tasty!
(from Blue Apron)
- 3/4 pound of Sunchokes
- 2 teaspoons of Lemon Zest
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Bunch of Mint
- 1/4 cup of Sunflower seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 475 F. Zest the lemon until you get 2 teaspoons of zest. Wash and dry the sunchokes and separate 1/4 of them. Peel and cut the separated sunchokes into matchsticks and toss with juice of 2 lemon wedges to prevent browning. Medium dice the remaining sunchokes.
Place diced sunchokes on sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast for 18-20 min.
Chop up the mint and combine the roasted sunchokes, sunchoke matchsticks, sunflower seeds, lemon zest, mint, and remaining half of lemon juice. (I use a little less sunflower seeds than the recipe called for)
(all photos, Jamie Grill Photography)