Suffering from S.A.D?
February 25th, 2011 - By Therese Madden
Seasonal AVAILABILITY Disorder, that is. Feeling blue with the offering of local food on the shelves? Aching for summer's bounty? Make the most of winter's goodies, try a sunchoke!
Find out more about Chef Marcie Turney's restaurants.
The sun is coming! As we wait, why not use this time year to get creative, with vegetables. Instead of pining for fresh tomatoes and peaches, let's make the most of what's in season now, like say a sunchoke. Not familiar with it? You're not alone. Here's what a random sampling of people had to say.
"A sunchoke? Sounds like some orange juice type of drink…"
"Sounds kind of like a sunny fruit, like some fruit that would grow in a hot place like Florida or California…"
"I don't know… maybe when you're outside in the sun and you look up and you choke on your spit…"
Nice tries, it's actually a winter root vegetable. The name may be dramatic, but it's appearance isn't, it's a knobby little thing. "It looks like ginger," it does, and that's Chef Marcie Turney, she's a fan of the sunchoke. Here's how she describes them.
"They say it tastes like potato, but no starch. I kind of would say it has the texture of water chestnut, but a slight artichoke flavor, like very slight." The artichoke flavor makes sense, hence the sunchoke's other name, Jerusalem artichoke. They're high in iron, potassium, and calcium, as well as vitamins A and C. They are also pretty versatile. Marcie Turney is the Executive Chef of three restaurants on Philadelphia's 13th Street in Center City. She's a big proponent of using local and seasonal ingredients. Here's what she does with a sunchoke, "we will shave them raw, we pickle them, and you can use them in a soup or as a starch."
But she does have a favorite, "I like 'em raw. You shave them, you don't have to put them in water because they are oxidizing, and a nice vinaigrette, nice and simple."
I took Turney's suggestion and tried some raw. I sliced it thin and added a little vinegar, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. It has a sweet nuttiness to it, and such a nice crunch. Maybe I found a new alternative to potato chips… maybe.