Parmesan Sunchoke Fries with Chimichurri Sauce
Once summer has officially wound down and the fall produce begins to roll into the farmers’ market, I fondly anticipate the sunchoke’s return. Also known as a jerusalem artichoke, sunroot, or my favorite name, earth apple, this root veggie belongs to the sunflower family. The roots grow all summer long while the flowers flourish up top, making roots ready for digging up in the fall.
They are most similar in taste and texture to a potato, but they are a little sweeter and much more earthy tasting. They are high in inulin, a naturally occurring sugar substitute, which the body does not break down as it would sugar, so the sunchoke is lower in carbs and glycemic index. But some people complain of trouble digesting them, that’s why I love cooking them until very soft, which helps make them much more digestible. They can take quite a while to roast, so I now boil them quickly first to make them cook a lot quicker.
When the crunchy parmesan finishes off these funny-shaped fries, they become a real treat. The pungent bite of the chimichurri sauce, with lots of cilantro, lemon, and garlic compliments it perfectly. Whip up this recipe at your next autumn get together, for the few months these beauties are in season.
Parmesan Sunchoke Fries
about 1 lb sunchokes (finger-like in shape and roughly the same size)
1 quart salted water
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
finely shredded parmesan cheese
1 big bunch of cilantro (1/4th lb with stems)
1/2 c olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 large lemon – juiced and seeds removed
Make the sauce ahead of time so it’s ready for when the fries come out of the oven. You can make it up to 2 days ahead and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. This recipe makes a lot more than you’ll need for these fries so you can use it in a ton of other recipes. Great with salads, in tacos, on burgers, as a marinade especially for chicken, or as a dip for anything else, like it with pita chips or veggies.
Just wash your cilantro and remove most of the stems, combine in a food processor with all the other ingredients and blend for 10-15 seconds or until no large chunks remain.
For the fries, start by bringing the salted water to a boil over high in a medium-sized pot. Wash the sunchokes well and remove any dirt, but don’t bother scrubbing or peeling them even though they look pretty earthy.
Slice all the pieces lengthwise into quarters, I picked sunchokes that were roughly the same sizes so they cook evenly, but they won’t be perfectly uniform. When the water is boiling carefully drop the sunchoke pieces in and once it comes back to a full boil let it simmer on high for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
When time is up shut off the stove and gently strain the sunchokes. Toss them in a medium bowl with the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and fresh cracked pepper. They will be too hot to toss with your hands and too fragile for using a mixing spoon so toss them in the bowl just to coat. Turn out onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes at 375F, gently stirring every 10 minutes or so. Then turn the oven up to 400F, take the fries out and sprinkle with a thin coat of shredded parmesan cheese shreds. Bake for 3-4 minutes or until some of the cheese is turning brown.
Serve them fresh out of the oven, use a spatula to get them off the tray. Put the chimichurri sauce in a small dish on the side for dipping and enjoy!
Yields 2-3 servings
Would go great with: