Week 9: Sunchoke

27 Feb

I took Friday off from work and we made our way down to New York City, first visiting a friend and her new baby in Brooklyn and then heading into Manhattan to meet more friends for drinks and dinner. On Saturday, we checked out the Strand bookstore (amazing), Washington Square (relaxing), the Museum of Sex (fantastic), and the NYC Public Library (awesome). But one of the things I like best about NYC is all the great places to eat.

Just before heading home, we grabbed dinner in Brooklyn with my friend Ryan. He took us to Brucie in Cobble Hill, which was delicious. Their menu changes daily, so there are always plenty of new and interesting dishes to try, even for Ryan who goes there frequently. I ordered the spinach fettuccine, which came with housemade ricotta, roasted grape tomatoes and sunchoke chips. I wasn’t sure what a sunchoke chip was so I asked the waitress. She said it was part of a sunflower plant and looks like a ginger root. The chef prepares it by cutting it into small chips and frying them.

According to wikipedia, sunchokes also go by the name Jerusalem artichoke, earth apple or sunroot. Wikipedia says that the tubers of the plant are often used as a substitute for potatoes since they have a similar consistency, and, raw, have a similar texture, but a sweeter, nuttier flavor. Raw and sliced thinly, they are a good addition to a salad. This great website, eat the seasons, has details on the sunchoke’s history and nutrition, tips on how to select and prepare the vegetable, and also includes some recipe links.

The camera on my phone takes pretty terrible pictures and the lighting didn’t help much, but my dish looked like this:

I tried one of the sunchokes alone and it was delicious – it tasted almost like a thin, fried potato. It reminded me of these “french fried potatoes” my father made when we were little, which were just thinly sliced potatoes fried on the stove and salted. Mixed together with the spinach fettucine, grape tomatoes and homemade ricotta, the sunchokes gave a little crunch to the dish and were absolutely fantastic.

The weekend was so much fun and this final NYC meal was amazing. I’m sure next time I visit NYC, I’ll find another amazing restaurant and have another fantastic meal – ’til next time!

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