It’s winter and we have Sunchokes back on the menu at breakfast and lunch (although the lunch sandwich is going away on Tuesday to make room for the Bridgewater.)
Sunchokes have this strange draw. You hear one of our staff members describing it and then you just find yourself ordering it. Maybe it’s something to do with what we pair it with (truffle butter and gooey eggs; peppery arugula and roasted mushrooms) but maybe it’s also the excitement of eating something totally new.
If you’ve had any experience with sunchokes, chances are it’s been in a fine dining restaurant. Chefs love them because they’re nutty, earthy and sweet, like a potato but without the starchy mouthfeel. They were first cultivated by Native Americans right here on the East Coast. In Europe, they have delighted kings and queens, yet they have often been relegated to animal feed or war rations. They are super easy to grow. Almost too easy. My friend who worked as a landscaper had to dig them up from fancy yards; they were nearly impossible to eradicate but nobody knew that you could eat them.
We’ve found the best way to eat sunchokes is to slice them super thin (leaving the peel on) and either roast or fry them. I’ve also heard of people slicing them thin and fermenting them. There’s even a Sunchoke liquor!