Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Make a Pickle Out of It: Jerusalem Artichoke Tartar Sauce

"One of the smartest things you can do on 'Chopped' is to take one of those ingredients and make a pickle out of it, because almost every dish benefits from that..."
                                                                                                         -Ted Allen

It's funny how a thick, elongated, nubby, and unsightly tuber can stir up a few great memories. The culprit is the Jerusalem Artichoke, or sunchoke. The recipe I'm sharing today, for Day #6 of NaBloPoMo, is Cornmeal-Crusted Yellowtail with Jerusalem Artichoke Tartar Sauce (you can find the recipe here). Carmen let me borrow her Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen cookbook and there are so many recipes I want to try. I had a craving for a fish sandwich, like they serve at Point Loma Seafoods, and thought this recipe would make a killer fish sandwich. I didn't make it into a sandwich this time, but definitely plan to in the future. I enjoyed the unique tartar sauce with its crunch from the sunchoke pickles and tang from the buttermilk. I added some chopped parsley and lemon zest.

My first experience tasting sunchokes was less than a year ago, during Chefs' Holidays at Yosemite's Grand Ahwahnee Hotel. One of the afternoon cooking sessions featured Peter Scargle, executive chef of Lucy Restaurant at the Bardessono Hotel and Spa in Yountville. Chef Scragle's philosophy is ruled by the seasons, and he says, "If it's not growing in the garden, it's the wrong time to be serving it." Scargle spends his mornings in Lucy's lush gardens looking for just-right ingredients to put on the day's menu. For the demonstration, he prepared and served cups of creamy soup made with sunchokes and garnished with finely diced apple, crème fraiche, chervil sprigs and shaved truffle. I have the recipe buried somewhere and need to dig it out. The soup would be nice for Thanksgiving since sunchokes are in season.

The Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem, and it is not a type of artichoke. It is a species of sunflower cultivated for the edible tuber, which has a delicate, artichokey flavor. It looks like ginger root and has a bad reputation for causing, um, gas, but only when eaten raw. Pickling, roasting, or slow or cooking eliminates that problem.

Raw Jerusalem Artichokes aka Sunchokes

Jerusalem Artichoke Pickles

Jerusalem Artichoke Tartar Sauce

The pan-fried fish recipe will work well with several firm, white-fleshed, medium-oily fish, but it was designed for Charleston's most popular and most sustainable fish: the dolphinfish, aka mahi. Although our market had mahi, it was previously frozen and I chose local yellowtail instead.

The fish is dipped in buttermilk, dredged in a mixture of seasoned flour and cornmeal, and pan-fried in peanut or vegetable oil.

Cornmeal-Crusted Yellowtail with Jerusalem Artichoke Tartar Sauce

I dug up the soup photo from Chefs' Holidays and another photo of the first dish I made one evening cooking dinner with friends...good times and good memories.

Above left: Little Farms Sunchoke SoupRight: Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Oyster Mushrooms and Sunchokes with Creamy Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette (Tasting Table), recipe here.

Here's the Point Loma Seafoods' fish sandwich, served with their famous tartar sauce on freshly baked sourdough. The fish, calamari and fried oyster sandwiches are all wonderful!

Pt. Loma Seafoods' Fish Sandwich



Anonymous said...

I love that you are blogging every day now.....I've missed the beautiful pictures of your food and the yummy recipes....good luck with the rest of the month!!

Anonymous said...

Glad the Lee Bros book inspires you. Love to see you blogging again. The fish and tarter looks wonderful! And thanks for the reminder about sun chokes - Carmen