At Washington D.C.'s The Dabney, chef Jeremiah Langhorne stocks his pantry with regional culinary ingredients to make the restaurant's Mid-Atlantic dishes. This includes the nutty and faintly artichoke-flavored vegetable, the sunchoke, also known as the Jerusalem artichoke. He turns them into glowing crunchy pickles, sweetened with sorghum syrup (a natural sweetener similar to honey; if you substitute honey, use only three tablespoons, because it's sweeter). You'll be eating these slices straight out of the jar, placing them on your charcuterie and cheese plates, and slicing and dicing them before adding to salads and sandwiches.
Sunchokes begin to oxidize and brown the minute you cut them, so submerge them in acidulated water right away. After draining the water, salt the slices and let them sit, allowing the salt to extract as much water as possible. Langhorne notes that the three-hour resting time ensures a long-lasting super-crunchy pickle. However, if you're in a pinch for time, one hour will still suffice a crunchy bite.
To learn more, read "The Middle Man."
Bread and Butter Pickled Sunchokes
Recipe adapted from Jeremiah Langhorne, The Dabney, Washington, D.C.
Yield: 1 quart pickled sunchokes
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus soaking and pickling time
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes, plus soaking and pickling time
1 large lemon, juiced
1 pound sunchokes, scrubbed (about ten 3-inch sunchokes)
¼ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (½ cup sliced)
¼ green bell pepper, small diced (½ cup diced)
1 large garlic clove, very thinly sliced (⅛ ounce)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup sorghum syrup (can substitute with 3 tablespoons honey)
1 teaspoon light brown mustard seed
¼ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon turmeric
1½ tablespoons kosher salt
1. Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water and add the lemon juice. Slice the sunchokes into ½-inch disks, placing them directly into the water, and soak 15 minutes.
2. While the sunchokes are soaking, in a large pot, add the remaining ingredients except for the salt and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, set aside and let cool. Makes 2 cups of pickling liquid.
3. Drain the sunchokes, discarding the water, and return to the bowl. Add the salt, tossing to combine, and let sit 3 hours, tossing occasionally.
4. After the sunchokes have soaked in the salt, drain and discard the sunchoke liquid (don't rinse). Transfer the sunchokes to a quart-size glass jar and pour the cooled pickling liquid over top. Cover and store in the fridge for at least a few hours and up to 2 weeks.