These smashed and fried sunchokes are lightly salted with micro-greens and a semi-soft Crescenza cheese from Bellwether Farms. Which makes them 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.
- mixed herbs (a couple of big fistfuls, stems attached)
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt (for salting water)
- 12 sunchokes (1 to 2‑inches, unpeeled)
- water (as needed)
- peanut oil (as needed for deep-frying)
- 1 cup loosely packed micro-greens (such as arugula, optional)
- ¼ cup crumbled Bellwether Farms Crescenza cheese (or other very flavorful cheese, optional)
- flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Place the mixed herbs, kosher salt and sunchokes in a large deep pot. Cover with water by about 2‑inches. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the sunchokes are well-softened, but not yet cracking open; about 15 minutes, depending on size.
Once soft drain the sunchokes, discarding the herbs. Dry the sunchokes well. Then lightly smash them with the palm of your hand and gently lay them onto a tray to cool.
Meanwhile, place the oil in a large, deep, straight-sided pot. Add enough oil to fill the pot about ⅓ of the way. Place over medium-high heat; use a thermometer to bring the temperature of the oil to 360 degrees. Carefully place the blanched and smashed sunchokes into the heated oil and fry several minutes until golden brown and to your liking. Do not crowd them and be gentle to avoid breaking them apart, work in batches if necessary. Use a flat, mesh strainer to remove them from oil as they become brown; drain on a paper towel-lined tray.
To serve, toss the hot sunchokes with the micro-greens and cheese (if using). Season generously with flaky sea salt.