My sunchoke gratin has lentils and black walnuts layered in a creamy Jarlsberg sauce. I’m sure the sunchokes have you raising your eyebrows, but I bet the lentils and black walnuts have you scratching your head. This is not your mother’s scalloped potatoes.
Or is it? Despite the unexpected ingredients this is a simple dish, suitable for a weeknight dinner. Which is exactly when my mother made scalloped potatoes.
This sunchoke gratin sits nicely next to roasted meats. Add something green to the plate and a hearty, cool weather dinner is done. Yes, there’s butter, cheese and cream in this– but not that much. This is a gratin suited to my Southern California lifestyle.
To me gratins fall into 2 camps, or maybe I should say regions. Regions of France that is. Your mother (and mine) may have called them scalloped potatoes but scalloped potatoes are really just potato gratin. Generally speaking the gratins of Northern France (where the weather is often cold and blustery) are far hardier than the gratins typically found in the warmer Southern regions of France. In the North recipes will generally have more cheese (and often egg) than what I’ve presented here. As I said mine is more of a Provençal preparation, suited to my Southern California plate.
Which isn’t to say this sunchoke gratin is traditional in any way.
Sunchoke Gratin with Jarlsberg, Lentils & Black Walnuts
First off there’s no potato in it. It’s made with sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes). Sunchokes aren’t typical in French cooking (North or South). Sunchokes are native to North America and are known to botanists as Helianthus tuberosus. They are the tubers from a type of perennial aster that looks like a small sunflower.
Also there is the fact that I’ve included lentils and walnuts. I don’t know about your mom, but mom’s scalloped potatoes were decidedly lentil-less. GREG
I just tried sunchokes last night in a pureed soup, and LOVED it! I am now inspired to try them in other preparations, and your recipe looks GREAT!
This looks fantastic. I’ve only cooked with sunchokes once and it didn’t go over too well. I need to revisit.
Sunchoke flowers are smallish for sunflowers. The plants, however, are NOT petite. 6–8 feet is common. And, once you start a sunchoke patch, you have it for life, as even tiny pieces of forgotten tuber in the ground will grow in spring.
My mom’s gratin never looked like this! I want to dig in.
You’re so creative and I’m in food writer block for the first time. Maybe if I ate some of this…
One of the things I like about gratins is you can make them out of almost anything. Heck, macaroni and cheese is a gratin! But sunchokes? Not something I’ve done, or even thought of doing. Really like the idea, though — thanks.
I love sunchokes and have never thought to put them in a gratin. What a fun idea!
This sounds outstanding. To heck with tradition, this is my kind of new gratin!
I love lentils and I know I would love this one. A beautiful dish Greg!.
This sounds wonderful. I love dishes like this — lots of texture and flavor. Bravo!
Methinks your mama would be proud. I’ve yet to try sunchokes. Ack, so many recipes, so little time!
Your combinations are always so inspiring! Love this.
I don’t think I’ve even had a sunchoke but you have me inspired. You elevated this recipe from what my momma made, that’s for sure.
I bet you could make this with milk instead of the cream if one is so inclined. Of course I’m a big fan of the lentil.