I think sunchokes have an almost bewildering character. The look is unassuming, but at the same time just strange enough to be interesting—some bulgy, some round, and others with no particular shape at all. The preparation's often frustrating, especially If you get them small and want to peel them before cooking them. And then there's the flavor: an earthy, nutty flavor that bears resemblance with so many things, but is similar to nothing else.
Turning sunchokes into a creamy soup is perhaps the most classic way of utilizing this lovely vegetable, but there are many other good options. In this recipe they're transformed into a smooth paté and served with one of the most quintessentially Scandinavian foods out there: smoked salmon. These two leading acts work extremely well together, and supported by some oven roasted crisp bread and dill becomes a charming plate of Scandinavian flavors.
- For the paté
- 1/3 pound sunchokes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 gelatine leaves
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- Kosher salt & freshly ground white pepper
- 2/3 pound wild smoked salmon (preferrable sliced fresh by hand into thin slices)
- 4 slices good, thin crisp bread
- 12 sprigs of dill
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Peel sunchokes. Add to large saucepan with cream and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, soak gelatin leaves in cold water until softened, about 5 minutes.
Using hand-blender, blend sunchokes, milk, and cream to desired level of smoothness. Add cream cheese and mix with sunchokes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Squeeze water from gelatin leaves and add to sunchoke and cream cheese mixture while still warm. Stir until gelatin has dissolved completely. Pour mixture into a 9 by 13 baking dish (mixture should come about 1 inch up sides) lined with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator until stiffened, about 3 hours.
Cut salmon into thin slices, and paté into 1x1 inch squares. Place 4 to 5 slices smoked salmon and 5 to 7 squares sunchoke paté each onto chilled plates together with 5 to 6 pieces of crisp bread, a few sprigs of dill and a slice of lemon. Drizzle olive oil around plate.