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This tasty tuber goes by many names. The sunchoke is also known as Jerusalem artichoke, sunroot, and earth apple. Part of the sunflower family, it was cultivated by Native North Americans long before the arrival of Europeans, who eventually took it home with them. (French soup hasn’t been the same since.) High in protein, its carbohydrates are converted to fructose after harvesting, giving it a sweet, nutty flavour that can make its root-vegetable cousins seem like small potatoes.
The Recipe: Sunchoke HummusServe this as a dip with pita crisps, crackers, or cruditésINGREDIENTS1/2 onion, diced2 lb white sunchokes, washed and scrubbed2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil2 sprigs thyme2 bay leavessalt, to taste1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed3 garlic cloves, peeled1 tbsp lemon zestjuice of 1 lemon1/2 tsp ground cumin2 tbsp water1/4 cup olive oil
In a pan sauté onion until translucent, then set aside. Toss sunchokes with 2 tbsp olive oil, thyme, bay leaves, and salt, then spread in a shallow pan and roast, covered, at 375°F for about one hour, or until very soft. Combine the onion, sunchokes (thyme and bay leaves removed), and remaining ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Season to taste. Add a couple more tablespoons of water to loosen, if needed. Cool to room temperature. Serves four. Store covered in the fridge for up to three days.