I am obsessed with sunchokes.
Sunchokes, Jerusalem artichokes, whatever they are--and I'm still not totally sure, since the definition in my beloved Larousse Gastronomique that my brother-in-law Philip gave me for Hannukah a couple of years ago is maddeningly vague--I love them. I want to write haikus to them, or perhaps a symphony in praise of them.
All right, I'm getting carried away. The fact is that sunchokes are fairly ugly little brown tubers and pretty much unavailable in Alaska. When I saw them in the list of possibilities for the CSA box that arrived this week, I was at least smart enough to order double of them.
I can only remember eating these little critters a couple of times, and the last was about four or five years ago. They're the Brigadoon of vegetables, at least in Alaska (as an aside, extra love to anyone who gets that reference).
They are hellish to peel, which the Larousse does say, and to which the small gash on my left middle finger can attest. However, they were heavenly to eat. The flavor is deep and rich and earthy, slightly starchy and reminiscent of really good mushrooms.
1 shallot, chopped
2 peperoncini peppers, crushed
3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan
Truffle or kosher salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Add the broth/wine mixture in half-cup increments, stirring constantly so the rice doesn't stick. After two additions of broth, add half the sunchoke mixture and stir well to combine. Add another two additions of broth, add the remaining sunchokes. Incorporate another cup of broth and taste; you want the rice to be al dente and may not need the additional broth.
When the rice is the desired texture, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese, plus salt and pepper to taste. Truffle salt really complements the sunchoke flavor, if you have it around.
Makes about four main course servings; would serve six for a side.