We're living in a great vegetable renaissance, a time when chefs are using greater quality and more of a variety of vegetables than ever before. One of the many benefits of this is the prevalence of the sunchoke, or Jerusalem artichoke. A few years back it was only seen occasionally and only used by the most creative chefs, but these days the sunchoke is everywhere.
We couldn't be more thrilled - the sunchoke is one of those vegetables that always feels like a treat, a calling card ingredient that always makes us want to order any dish in which it's featured. While many chefs still use it in its (admittedly delicious) most basic forms - roasted, or as a puree - there are a lot of folks taking the sunchoke to new heights, and finding ever-expanding ways to bring excitement to the plate via this odd knobby tuber. We spent some time seeking out some of the best sunchoke dishes in town being served right now.
5. Sunchoke soup at Bestia
Soup is one of the most common uses of sunchokes, but Ori Menache gives it the rustic Italian treatment at Bestia, with a simple puree and topped with crispy capers and roasted peppers. The garnishes bring to mind a very good, very Italian pizza, and the sunchoke's heartiest qualities shine in the thick soup.
4. Crispy sunchokes at Bäco Mercat
Like so much of what's good at Bäco Mercat, the crispy sunchokes are a mashup of unexpected, bold flavors, textures and cultures. The sunchokes themselves are cooked just long enough to give them a crispy exterior - the interior is left almost crunchy, for a more toothsome experience than most sunchoke dishes. Then they're tossed with large crispy croutons, tarragon, arugula and dukkah, the Egyptian mix of herbs and nuts. It's sweet, a little creamy, savory and bright. It's awesome.
3. Sunchoke and artichoke antipasti at Scopa Italian Roots
At Scopa, chef Antonia Lofaso is serving one of the best sunchoke dishes in town, a cold salad in which she pairs the sweet, knobby tuber with its distant cousin-by-marriage, the artichoke, along with bitter treviso, then dresses it all in olive oil and lemon. It's a simpler-than-usual treatment for the sunchoke but one that will make you wonder why everyone doesn't do it this way.
2. Sunchoke hash at Sqirl
Leave it to Jessica Koslow, the chef and owner of Sqirl, to give us sunchokes for breakfast. After all, breakfast is Koslow's main artistic medium. For her hash, the sunchokes are cooked until creamy inside, and served in a cast-iron skillet with a sunnyside egg served on top. It's a decadent, glorious way to start the day.
1. Sunchoke ravioli at Superba Snack Bar
If you haven't been back to Superba Snack Bar in a while, it's a pretty great time to visit, particularly for chef Jason Neroni's gorgeous sunchoke ravioli. The pasta is delicate, the filling is plush and sweet, and Neroni amps up the indulgence factor by draping thinly sliced, silky and salty ham over the entire dish. It's one of those plates of food you'll be thinking about for weeks to come.
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