This appetizer recipe came out of chance, so to speak. I had all of these ingredients on hand but wasn't necessarily planning on putting it all together, but it really turned out to be a great dish. It is really easy to make and eat, you simply pick it up and eat it like a little taco. I would say this could easily be one of my signature dishes for appetizers. This is a great vegetarian dish that really packs on a big punch. One of the guys said "this is an explosion of flavor". Doesn't look like much but you eat this appetizer like a little taco. The flavors all come together, some hit you in the beginning, some in the middle, and you also get a little lingering flavor of pepper from the nasturtium. Some of the great chef's around the world come up with dishes either by chance because they have things to work with either in their refrigerators, or cellars with fermented items, or in their pantry. This type of cooking is easy because you have things on hand that can quickly impact a dish. One of the techniques I have been using for vegetables is salt baked sunchokes. The salt forms a crust and infuses and intensifies the natural flavor of what ever you are roasting. I think it is one of the best ways to prepare sunchokes. When they are prepared just right they will have a creaminess to them but still having their texture in tact. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it.
1 lb of sunchokes washed
3 cups of kosher salt
1 egg white
3 tbsp approximately of water
1 bunch of nasturtium leaves (approx. 20)
1/4 cup of roasted garlic
1/4 cup of mayo ( or aioli)
Salt to taste
Esplete Sauce (romesco)
6-7 fresh esplete peppers roasted, peeled and deseeded
2 small cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of marcona almonds
1 oz of parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of olive oil
Salt to taste
1 oz of onion sprouts for garnish
For the Esplete romesco,
Place all of the ingredients into a vita mix except for the olive oil. Turn on and puree, while the blender is still on slowly add the oil until it is a smooth puree. Season with salt and set aside.
For the Salt baked sunchokes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small oven proof sauté pan add little of the salt to cover the bottom of the pan. Pour the rest of the salt into a bowl with egg white and water. Mix thoroughly so the mixture should look like wet sand. Place the sunchokes in the bottom of the pan. Then pour the wet salt mixture on top of the sunchokes so that they are completely covered. Place into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Take out and let them cool for 5 minutes. Then take a hard spoon and crack the salt shell that has now hardened. Take all of the salt off of the vegetables and either brush or lightly rinse off any excess salt. Set aside.
For the Garlic mayo,
Simple place roasted garlic and mayo in a bowl and puree until smooth. Season with salt and set aside.
Take your nasturtium leaves and place flat on a cutting board. Add a small dollop of garlic mayo on top of the nasturtium leaves. Take the sunchokes and cut them in half lengthwise and place on top of the garlic mayo. Add a spoonful of esplete romesco on top of the sunchoke and garnish with onion sprouts. Serve and enjoy!