2/2/2011 - Day 18 - What the heck is a Sunchoke? + Duck ravioli with cheese sauce
My dear readers, I have the greatest pleasure of introducing you to these little beauties! They're Sunchokes (AKA Jerusalem Artichokes). Sunchokes are the tubers of a sunflower relative, native to North America. These guys came in our weekly CSA box & I was excited to try them out. I'm always open to new food discoveries! After some online research I decided to roast them up as a side dish for dinner. Raw they have the crunch & consistency of potato, but taste more like jicama plus an earthy, almost smokey flavor. Roasted they have the consistency of roasted potatoes & taste AMAZINGLY similar to the flesh of artichokes! I guess that's how they got there name, though I have no idea where the "Jerusalem" part came from.
olive oil (I used truffle oil, but any oil or butter would do)
Any other spices you want
Scrub the sunchokes with a potato brush & cut off any yucky looking bits. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss in a baking dish with olive oil & spices. Bake at 425 until fork tender (about 10 min in my oven).
For our main dish I cooked up some luscious duck ravioli that I bought at the Farmers' Market & served it with a mushroom Camembert truffle cream sauce *drool*
Mushroom Camembert Truffle Cream Sauce
1-2 Cups sliced mushrooms
2-3 Tablespoons butter
1/3ish Cup heavy cream
4 oz. Camembert cut into small pieces with rind removed (or other soft cheese, like Brie. Though you could really use any delicious cheese you have on hand. I'll warn you against Feta, it can get gritty in sauces)
splash of milk
1 truffle very finely grated
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in the mushrooms & cook until tender. Remove the mushrooms & put on a plate to the side. Turn heat down to medium-low & add the cream to the butter & mushroom juices in the pan. (Note: It is EXTREMELY important not to let the mixture get too hot. Don't let it boil because it will separate. Bubbling is fine, but no violent boiling.**) Add the cheese pieces (remember to remove the rind!) & whisk until melted. I like to add a splash of milk or some more heavy cream to increase the volume of the sauce at this point, but this is optional if you are happy with the amount of sauce you have. Let bubble & whisk continually until it's thick, golden & lovely. When you're about ready to serve the sauce, whisk in the grated truffle. Then stir the reserved mushrooms back in spoon over whatever wonderful dish you'd like :)
**If your sauce separates, remove from heat & whisk in 2T of COLD water. You should see it start to come back together. If necessary, add more cold water 1T at a time until it's all better :) I learned this from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook! Hooray!
Our finished feast! Served with some apple slices & a chilled dry Rosé.
(Why yes, that is a Dungeons & Dragons battle mat taking up the majority of our dining room table. Tomorrow night is D&D night at our house! What? Did you think all gamers are smelly dudes who live in their moms' basements & eat only pizza, Cheetos, & Mountain Dew? Well, your mind has now been expanded ;) You're welcome.)