Roasted Sunchoke Kale Salad

One of the things I love most about getting a farm box is that every once in a while, you pull out a strange fruit or vegetable you’ve never seen before and go “what is this, and how on earth do I cook it?” Well, I’ve been off the farm box bandwagon for a little while, preferring to shop at the local farmer’s market, and I must admit that when I’m selecting produce to cook, I tend to steer away from the more exotic offerings. Sure, I’ll look up recipes to find new and creative ways to cook said produce, but the produce I buy tends to be more normal, at least “normal” for a California foodie.

So I surprised myself last week when, wandering through the aisles of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op, I stumbled upon a small basket of sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes) and bought a few, having no earthly idea how to cook them.

Sunchokes

Now, I’ve eaten sunchokes before, and liked them, but I’d never cooked with them before. After getting home and spending some time online, I decided to roast them with whole garlic cloves and serve them as a raw kale salad. Got to say, one of my better salad experiences recently.

The best part? Make-it-from-scratch recipes don’t come too much easier than this. So the next time you wander through the market and spy these ginger-looking tubers, pick a few up, take them home, and make this generous three-serving salad.

Ingredients

10 medium to large sunchokes (or equal volume of small and medium-sized sunchokes)

4 cloves garlic

1 large bunch curly kale

lemon juice (< 1/3 cup)

olive oil (< 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons)

coarse-grain salt (several tablespoons)

3 oz hard, nutty cheese

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Cut the larger sunchokes into 2-3 pieces, so that all are approximately the same size. Peel the garlic cloves. Toss the sunchokes and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then spread out on a baking sheet and roast until sunchokes are tender and garlic is sweet, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Sunchokes and garlic, pre-roasting

Sunchokes and garlic, after roasting

Sunchokes and garlic, after roasting

Cut the stems from each kale leaf, then slice into 1-inch thick ribbons and massage, adding lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in small amounts as you go. Continue until the kale is dark green and the leaves lose their stiff, fibrous texture.

Add the roasted sunchokes and garlic to the kale. Cut the cheese into thin slices and sprinkle on top.

Dinner is served!

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