Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunchoke Fries and Zataar Chicken

Sunchokes also know as Jerusalem artichokes are an interesting little root vegetable.  In their raw form they look like the evil cousin of ginger root, there is no chance they will win a prettiest food contest that's for sure.  And they taste like an artichoke heart had a love child with a particularly waxy potato.  In other words oddly delicious.  It's a fun way to get your artichoke fix without the bother of steaming and dissecting an artichoke.  They also have a GI of about 50 so they aren't a great option for the diet but they're a better option than the evil carby potato and are a great treat for when you're on the weight maintenance phase and miss making homemade steak fries.

Until the other night I've only ever had them in delicious root vegetable mashes in fancy restaurants which I love but have never tried to recreate.  When it came time to prepare the sunchokes however I was not in the mood to experiment, I just wanted something fairly quick and tasty to eat.  So I turned on the oven, cut up the sunchokes, seasoned them and hoped for the best thinking they would probably do well baked like any other vegetable to make a sort of french fry.  And they came out great.  I also threw together my favorite no effort chicken and had a great meal that was easy but also very extraordinary. 

So if you ever see sunchokes in the store or more likely at the farmers market give them a try.  Especially if you're a lover of artichokes, these are the next best thing.

Zataar Chicken

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons zataar seasoning 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a square glass baking dish coat the chicken with the oil then toss the spices on the chicken until somewhat evenly coated.  Bake in oven about 30 minutes or until the chicken is done all the way through.

Zataar is a blend of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds.  It's fairly easy to find and worth looking for because it's very flavorful and a nice seasoning for Mediterranean dishes.

Sunchoke Fries

handful of sunchokes, well scrubbed and cut into thin slices
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 or 2 tablespoons rosemary

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread sunchokes out on cookie sheet large enough to accommodate them all in a single layer.  Drizzle the sunchokes with enough oil to keep them from sticking to the pan, tossing them in the oil to coat.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and rosemary on the sunchokes to your taste.  Toss them again so the spices are evenly distributed and the sunchokes are spread out enough to not overlap much.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender in the middle and crispy on the edges.


Juliette said...

It should be zaatar (za'atar), not zataar.

Also, did you have any GI issues after eating all the sunchokes? They are notorious gas-producers.

Nice blog!

Emily said...

My bottle of zataar spells it that way so I picked that one out of the many spellings to go with. And no I had no issues after eating sunchokes and neither did the fella.