People love food when it’s smashed. I’m sure you’ve seen kids with peas and a fork. Adults do it too. People love smashed food. These fried sunchokes are smashed. Well, first they’re smashed and then they’re fried. The end result is fried sunchokes that people will love.
I got the idea to try this because I’ve seen how much people love smashed potatoes. Maybe even more than they love mashed potatoes. Though that’s not necessarily a scientific fact, so don’t quote me.
Sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) are known to botanists as Helianthus tuberosus. They are the tubers of a type of perennial aster that looks like a small sunflower. The chokes themselves look a little bit like ginger root but they have a delicate, nutty flavor– somewhere between a water chestnut and jicama. However, when cooked they take on a texture somewhat similar to potatoes. In fact I often substitute them for potatoes in braised dishes.
Like potatoes, sunchokes are starchy. Or rather sunchokes are starchy like, because sunchokes aren’t actually a starch. Rather, they’re a root that stores inulin, a naturally occurring complex carbohydrate (like sugar) which accounts for their sweetness. Whatever the the actual science is– sunchokes fry up beautifully . Thinly sliced fried sunchoke chips are delicious. As I said, sunchokes make great substitutes for potatoes. I plan to try sunchoke latkes very soon. I’m sure they’ll be terrific too.
What I like best about these smashed and fried sunchokes is the way the edges get super crispy and the interior stays soft and almost fluffy. I served mine salted with micro-greens and a soft Crescenza cheese from Bellwether Farms. Which made these smashed and fried sunchokes a terrific first course for a dinner party. However, there’s no need to get that fancy if you don’t want to. Like all fried foods, as long as they’re served hot and salty, they’ll be a winner. GREG
I LOVE sunchokes.…they are so underrated.
Love simmering them with all the herbs. What a great idea. Have some in the fridge that need a home. I am liking this!
I’m not overly familiar with sunchokes. These look fab though. I need to start smashing and frying!
I love my sun chokes in every way I’ve had them. Now I have one more way to try. Happy New Year to you both!
These look delicious! Love the crispy exterior so good! Bookmarking to try sometime!
I’ve only just discovered sunchokes—what a marvelous preparation! Happy New Year, Greg!
I love sunchokes. What a clever idea to smash and fry them.
Smashing definitely adds some extra oomph to the mix. Plus more surface area = more crispy edges = more fabulous.
Another one of those veggies I have yet to try rendering me a really lame vegetarian I guess. I’ve got to remedy that!
Hot, salty, and smashed is definitely a winner in my book Greg.
We got a few sunchokes in our CSA box last season and I so enjoyed playing around with them. That subtle artichoke flavor is right up my alley. Love these smashed beauties. And fried. Just brilliant.
I love sunchokes, but never thought to serve them this way. Brilliant!
Not only do we love smashed food, we love fried food and you’ve given us both in this delightful dish.
Greg, these are overlooked too often, but make a common appearance in Persian pickles. My uncle also grows them in his garden and my aunt pickles them for me. The problem is that I cannot stop eating them and end up with a tummy ache from all the pickle acid!
Your smashed & pan-fried version looks so delicious. I will put it out as a side tonight and see what the rest of my posse thinks.
Hope your holidays are going great!
I got some from my CSA this past summer and had no clue what to do with them! I think I composted them 🙁
What a lovely texture and color to these fried, smashed sunchokes! I’ve never heard of them before so your well written and informative post has me looking forward to trying them and being on the lookout for these chokes in stores. Are they easily found in markets? Great post, Greg.
Happy New Year to you and yours!