Sunchoke Panzanella

August 28th, 2019

You know what is one of the best combinations in the world?  Tomatoes and bread.  Pizza, bruschetta, and panzanella are all products of this delicious combination, and I love all three of them.  But you know what makes an even better combination?  Tomatoes, bread, and sunchokes.

I see sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem Artichokes) at the farmer’s market every week, and I buy them pretty often, to add to other dishes for a little crunch.  Unpeeled, they look a little bit like fresh ginger, but when you peel them, they have a really light, mild flavor and terrific crunchy texture.  I like to add them raw to salads, or use them in place of celery for things like tuna salad… which I usually make with salmon, so can I really call it tuna salad?  But I digress.

Saturday of this weekend was intensely beautiful in New York, and I woke up early and couldn’t sleep, so I decided to walk from my (uptown) apartment all the way down to the farmer’s market.  I love how sleepy the city is on weekend mornings, before the restaurant brunches pick up, when the stores are still closed and the streets are quiet.  For the city that never sleeps, Saturdays and Sundays before 10 am get pretty close.

But then I got to the farmer’s market, and found the portion of the city that, like me, was awake and excited.  Suddenly, in the last few weeks, it seems the farmer’s market has doubled in size.  Whereas in January, even on the weekends, there would only be a few choices of things to buy, suddenly now there are tents upon tents of potted and cut flowers, fresh herbs, even vegetable plants for sale!  And squeezed in between them are the stalls that I’ve been buying from all winter, and suddenly I now have to wait in line. 

Spring vegetables still aren’t available, but I think the closeness of spring makes me value the last winter veggies a little bit more.  So when I saw sunchokes, I wanted to celebrate spring using what’s actually available in Manhattan in April: Sunchoke Panzanella.

Sunchoke Panzanella

2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
3 medium-sized sunchokes, cut into 1/2 to 3/4″ pieces
4 large slices of sourdough bread, or a little less than a demi-baguette, cut into cubes
3 large shallots, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. In a large skillet, toast bread in 2 tbsp olive oil until crispy and golden.
2. Mix toasted bread, tomatoes, sunchokes and basil in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together remaining olive oil and vinegar, drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Serve.

Serves three to four.

Tags: food · salads · side dishes

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jen (Modern Beet) // Apr 16, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    That looks super delicious!  Wonderful pictures too!  I love tomato/bread salad, but have never tried sunchokes… I’ll have to see if they’re available at my farmer’s market — do you typically find them in the winter or spring?

  • 2 Kristen // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I’ve never bought sunchokes either.  Last year, when I was regular saturday-goer to the Dane County Farmer’s Market (best in the world), I made it my mission to try a new vegetable (or other yummy item) a week.  Once my travels are over and I can go to farmer’s markets again I’m going to start this tradition again and try sunchokes.

  • 3 PaniniKathy // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Looks gorgeous!!  Definitely one I’d like to try.  And I’d been wondering what sunchokes were since last week’s Top Chef! 🙂

  • 4 Erin // Apr 16, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    This look so good!  It’s so bright & sunny — I’m so glad that summer is on its way and we can all enjoy dishes like this with fresh local produce soon.  I’ve honestly never had a sunchoke before either.  Looking forward to picking some up.

  • 5 katy // Apr 16, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Jen — I’ve seen them almost every week since November, but they might be available year round!

    Kristen — Yay!  We can make weekly trips this summer… 🙂

    PaniniKathy — What happened on Top Chef?!?  I don’t get Bravo at home, I have to watch it at the gym, so I haven’t seen it yet!!!

    Erin — Thanks!  I’m thrilled for Spring produce too — I keep my eyes peeled at the farmer’s market every week for anything new and spring-y!

  • 6 Kitt // Apr 17, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Oh Spring! Such delights it brings.

  • 7 grace // Apr 17, 2008 at 3:57 am

    i’m so jealous of your access to an awesome farmer’s market!

    in response to what happened on top chef last week, the losing dish was something like beef carpaccio with mushrooms and sunchoke aoili.  apparently not even the brilliance of the sunchoke could redeem it.

  • 8 Marc @ NoRecipes // Apr 17, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I’ve been lamenting the fact that there are no spring veggies yet at the Union Square greenmarket as well. I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and go foraging for ramps and fiddleheads this weekend with the “Wildman” who does foraging tours around here.

  • 9 VeggieGirl // Apr 17, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Pizza, bruschetta, and panzanella ARE wonderful creations, featuring tomatoes & bread – yum!! I have yet to try sunchokes (I’ve only had “regular” artichokes before), but you’ve inspired me to do so – they sound wonderful!!

    By the way – since you’re in NYC, did you happen to catch my blog posts, all about my recent trip to NYC??

  • 10 sugarlaw // Apr 17, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Kitt — I agree!

    Grace — Oh no!  Well, there goes my dream of being on Top Chef…

    Marc — That sounds so cool!!!!!  You have to tell me how it goes!

    VeggieGirl – I’m looking at it now!  You went to one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants — Candle 79!  Sounds like it was an awesome trip.

  • 11 Ellie @ Kitchen Wench // Apr 17, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Crazy – would you believe I’ve never had Jerusalem artichokes raw before? Every recipe I’ve seen call for them has involved baking or frying them so I’d never contemplated raw…this situation shall have to be rectified!

  • 12 Katherine // Apr 17, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve actually never even heard of sunchokes, though for all I know they do sell them here.

    One thing I love about your blog is that you don’t just write up the recipe, but you also provide the story leading up to cooking the meal you made.

  • 13 gina // Apr 17, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    This looks great! I never had a sunchoke, I will have to see if they sell them in whole foods. Great recipe! I think I can use this for weight watchers.

  • 14 diva // Apr 17, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    i’ve never heard of a sunchoke!! i might have to look em up. great food shot..looks so yummy

  • 15 katy // Apr 17, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Ellie – Definitely try them raw!  They taste like sort of a combination between a cucumber and a water chestnut – really yummy!

    Katherine — Thanks!  Writing up the stories is sometimes my favorite part. And other times eating the dish is my favorite part… 🙂

    Gina and Diva — I hope you find them!!!

  • 16 Elle // Apr 17, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Katy, that looks SO good!  I’ve never had a sunchoke, but now that I know what they’re like, I’m looking forward to tracking them down and trying them in so many things.  Like this salad!

  • 17 Donald // Apr 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Wow Katy! I never even heard of a sunchoke. But the vibrant colors and toasty too??? Hmmm. I don’t even know where I’d begin looking for such a thing. I’ll be on the lookout though.

    Your writing about the city in the morning brings back soooooo many memories. Some good and some just, meh! I used to DJ in NYC, so many moons ago at a place called Dance Til Dawn (Paradise Garage). So I was heading back to Philly between 8-10 am through the island. Just me and the vent people, so quiet. Thanks for the memories. 🙂

  • 18 Susan from Food Blogga // Apr 17, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I could live off of bread and tomatoes. Seriously. But with crunchy sunchokes too? Oh, yeah.

  • 19 Tartelette // Apr 17, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Looks wonderful! Love the colors, the flavors, everything!

  • 20 Cynthia // Apr 17, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I have some fresh ripe tomatoes I got from the market and you make me want to go bake bread 🙂

  • 21 Paz // Apr 18, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Wow!  That was a nice long walk to the Farmer’s Market.  Cool!  I love the cherry tomatoes in your panzanella.  I think it makes it extra special.  😉


  • 22 helen // Apr 18, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Saturdays and Sundays pre-10am ate exactly the same in London, it’s about as close as it gets to quiet. I love this time, it feels stolen like it’s all mine. Your salad look delish, Jerusalem artichokes are the best and the colours are so pretty.

  • 23 Patricia Scarpin // Apr 18, 2008 at 9:31 am

    That delish, Katy! Simple to put together and full of flavor.

  • 24 adele // Apr 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a sunchoke before, although I’ve definitely heard of them. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them when my local farmer’s market starts up again. (Almost there…)

  • 25 Zenchef // Apr 18, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    I love going to the Greenmarket too this time of the year. Lot’s of beautiful stuff!
    This variation on panzanella is very inspired, i like it a lot!

  • 26 Ann // Apr 19, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Love this salad and love your take on it! We’re off to the local Greenmarket this morning and I can’t wait to see what’s going to be there!

  • 27 Rachel@fairycakeheaven // Apr 19, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    ooo this looks lovely, I’ve never had an artichoke so much work on changing that!!

    I’ve tagged you over on my blog Katy, pop over if you get a chance

  • 28 Susan // Apr 20, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I love panzanella and love Jerusalem artichokes (as I’ve always called them) but never thought of putting them together — wonderful idea!

  • 29 Sandra // Apr 22, 2008 at 2:35 am

    I love this recipe! W panzanella!
    Brava Katy..
    Bye from Turin (Italy)

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  • 35 DONALD SWAFFORD // Feb 11, 2010 at 4:13 am

    i learned of the j artichoke from old jim crockett’s victory garden (pbs) i’m 61 weep for me / try pan roasting cubed sunchokes seasoned with your rendered duck fat fresh pepper and sea salt simple/simple —-please marry my son love your site

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