As I suspect you’ve noticed, I have a surplus of sunchokes. When I used them in a breathtaking soup the other night, I noticed that they have a porous sort of quality that picks up and transports other flavors extremely well. Hence the magnified effect of the ginger in that soup. Sunday I’m going to poach some in cream with some fresh rosemary to serve with a roast chicken. In the meantime, I’m going to try pickling some because I have a hunch that their natural crispness will take to it very well.
My food52 friend, Abby, has the best pickling recipe I’ve ever tasted: http://www.food52.com/recipe/barbacoa%20beef%20cheek%20tacos. I can eat those onions just like candy. To change it up a bit this time, I’m going to add a few of my sunchokes and some ginger to the mix. They have a date with a bison burger, and maybe some fish tacos, this weekend. The rest I believe I will give to my brilliant friend, Carl. He is a true food whisperer, and I’d love to see what he does with them.
I used a mandoline to slice the onions, as well as to julienne the sunchokes and ginger. I wanted everything a uniform thickness. A hint about the onion: leave the root end attached when you trim and peel it. The root will help hold the onion together so it doesn’t try to separate and get away from you when you slice it. If you don’t have a mandoline, many varieties are available from a good local kitchen store at extremely reasonable prices. Look into adding one to your tool kit; you’ll find wonderful uses for it.
Under the heading: do you ever wonder what you use to think with, as I shredded the ginger on the mandoline, I had an epiphany. I was thinking about Abby’s statement, “The beet will turn it a really pretty hot pink color.” I went out for sushi with a friend the other night. Whenever I do, I eat the pickled ginger – you know, the pretty, thinly sliced pink stuff – like candy. Seriously, I pinch up a dainty bunch with chopsticks, dangle it in the soy-wasabi (yes, thank you I’d love some more wasabi, and ginger also if it’s not too much trouble) mixture, and eat it all by itself. While preparing the vegetables for pickling, it dawned on me that I can make my very own paper thin pink pickled ginger. As much as I want, whenever I want. How on earth can it take someone so long to add 2 + 2?
PICKLED SUNCHOKES, RED ONIONS, AND GINGER: HOMAGE TO ABBY
1 red onion, 1/8″ slice
4 sunchokes, peeled, 1/8″ julienne
2″ knob of fresh ginger, peeled, 1’8″ julienne
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 of one beet, peeled, 1/2″ slices
1/2 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 handful cilantro
- Place the onions, sunchokes, ginger, salt, sugar, and beet, in a stainless steel saucepan. Add the water and vinegar.
- Bring to a soft simmer. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Simmer for one minute.
- Remove from heat. Add the cilantro. Transfer to a refrigeration container and allow to cool. Make sure the container is airtight. You’ll understand why.
- Refrigerate overnight. As Abby says, “The beet will turn it a really pretty hot pink color.”