I don’t know about you, but as much as I try to embrace them, Sunchokes (or Jerusalem Artichokes), have never really seemed worth the effort – the scrubbing, the peeling and then… well, not much more flavor-wise. We have them occasionally in our CSA baskets and, truth be told, even some farmers have a tough time using them consistently in their own kitchens.
A new friend, Nadia Ernestus, who happens to be a Health Coach, recently told me she had purchased them, never having tried to prepare them herself. She also frowned at the endless scrubbing and peeling. She took an approach so simple I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it myself! She roasted them cleaned, but unpeeled, and simply squeezed out the centers once soft. Hello! And so delicious! I’ve stirred the roasted centers into soups and spread onto warm, garlic-rubbed baguette slices as appetizers with a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt. Never will I be at a loss with these babies in the basket again!
I was raised by hippie-ish parents in the middle of nowhere, and while some aspects of my childhood were pretty normal, my mother was far ahead of her time in terms of making organic food a priority. We had a huge vegetable garden and my parents froze and canned as much produce as possible so that we could enjoy it year-round. My mother baked her own bread, belonged to the local food co-op, and fed me graham crackers when I demanded a treat. (No joke!) Now that I’m a parent, I do my best to feed my children (and reluctant husband) a diet that is heavily biased toward fresh, local, seasonal produce, fresh eggs, organic milk, and antibiotic-free meats and poultry. And when I entertain….all that high-minded, healthy behavior goes right out the window and I serve my guests only the finest in processed foods. Nearly everyone I know seems to have a version of this recipe, which is not only a crowd-pleaser but a total artery-clogger to boot. Happy Super Bowl!
BAKED ARTICHOKE DIP
1 x 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, packed in water
1 ½ cups shredded or grated parmesan cheese
1-2 cups mayonnaise (and no, not the low-fat variety)
1 small can chopped green chilies (I prefer Old El Paso brand) – don’t be afraid; they aren’t spicy, but add a great deal of flavor.
Mix all ingredients together, place into a small casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown on the sides of the pan (about 20-25 minutes). Serve with a freshly sliced baguette, tortilla chips, crackers, or really just about anything. You can easily double the recipe too.