I don’t fry that often.
You know why?
Grease is really annoying to clean and let’s face it- fried food is not the healthiest.
But there are exceptions.
Have you tried these guys before?
Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are knobby-looking tubers that grow underground. They are rich in vitamins and basically fat free (green light to fry!). Sunchokes pop up when pomegranates hit the shelves and usually disappear in a flash. The season is short. You’ve probably walked right past them because they’re not the prettiest. Grocery stores never display them like beautiful, red cherries.
But keep your eyes peeled; their flavor is unique and worth seeking out. A hidden treasure.
They remind me of salted, roasted cashews when fried.
Is that weird?
I also roast them with herbs and bacon or purée into soup.
Here’s how I make crispy chips:
Fill a medium-sized pot about half way up with vegetable oil. Heat gently.
Then make the salt.
Strip the leaves from a rosemary sprig and roughly chop. Zest one lemon. Add both to a mortar and pestle and season generously with a pinch (or two) of salt. I use Kosher salt. Bash it up to infuse the flavors. You can certainly do this by hand; rub the herbs and zest between your fingertips to release the oils. Mix with salt to combine.
There will be plenty leftover and I highly recommend using with steak, fish and potatoes.
It’s delicious sprinkled over a cheesy egg omelet…
When you’re ready for the sunchokes, thinly slice as best you can. I use my mandolin.
Add one sunchoke slice to the pot; if it sizzles and floats to the top you’re ready to fry. If not, wait a bit longer for the oil to heat up.
Now, go change your shirt.
Oil stains are a total pain.
You know it.
Then, gently add a handful of sunchokes to the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Do not overstuff the pot! The bubbles will rise over the top and overflow onto your stove. Big mess and super dangerous. I stupidly did this today but caught it just in time.
Transfer the chips to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
My first batch came out a little ‘blonde’ but tasted fine. If you want them darker, just keep them in a little longer.
I like how the edges curl…
Head’s up- you’ll notice that they’re not super crispy at first. Once they cool down they’ll be perfectly crunchy.
Oh, and one more thing- sunchokes are not related to artichokes. They belong to the sunflower family!
- 6-7 medium-sized sunchokes
- 1 quart vegetable oil
- kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
- In a medium pot, add the oil to come up about half way up the sides. Adjust the heat to medium-low and heat until 375 F. Use a thermometer if you have one.
- Grab a large plate and line it with paper towels.
- For the salt, add the rosemary and lemon zest to a mortar and pestle. Top with one or two pinches of salt. Bash it up so the flavors can infuse. Alternatively, you can do this by hand; rub the herbs and zest between your fingertips to release the oils. Add the salt and mix well.
- For the sunchokes, slice paper thin. A mandolin is best for this or use a food processor fitted with the slicker attachment.
- At this point, your oil should be ready. Check the temperature by dropping in one sunchoke slice; if it floats you're ready to fry. If not, wait for it to heat up.
- Gently add a handful of sunchokes to the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally (so they don't stick) until golden. Do not over crowd the pot! The oil bubbles will rise and spill onto your stove. Be careful.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chips to your lined plate.
- Sprinkle with the infused salt while hot. Let them sit for a minute to crisp up.
- Repeat with the remaining sunchokes.
- Store any extra salt and chips in air-tight containers, respectively.
My camera is so greasy now…