For this dish you want to look for uniform sized sunchokes. If you can find the ones that don’t have knobs, so much the better. I like to use the ones that are around an inch in diameter and 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long.
A note about the “peeling” sunchokes – don’t bother. They are a real pain to peel, and you usually lose more to the process than you have left to eat. I usually toss them into a bowl of cold water and give them a soak, then rub them with a paper towel. If this isn’t sufficient, I resort to a vegetable brush and/or an old soft toothbrush. The skins are thin and are not really noticeable when eating.
1 pound of Jerusalem artichokes, clean and trimmed of blemishes
1-2 tablespoons butter or oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs of your choice – thyme, marjoram, and sage are delicious combination
Water as needed
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Place the sunchokes into an ovenproof pan that will just hold them in an even layer. Add enough water to come up about 1/4 inch.
Use a peeler to shave off thin slices of butter and drape them over the sunchokes, or just drizzle a tiny bit of oil over each vegetable.
Salt and pepper the lot, and cover with foil or a tight fitting lid.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then check. Are they getting soft inside? If not, re-cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes more, re-checking until quite tender. At this point, uncover the vegetables and cook for ten minutes to crisp up a bit.
When browned, roll the sunchokes in the melted butter in the pan bottom to coat, then serve.
For a nice variation, use a little orange juice with, or instead of, the water. After the sunchokes are done, reduce the juice and add a little more butter to turn it into a sauce.
YIELD: 4-6 servings
SOURCE: Chef Andrew Cohen