Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunchoke Hashbrowns

When we woke up, I wanted to make a nice, savory Sunday breakfast. We had some turkey bacon on-hand, so eggs seemed like a natural pairing. It occurred to me that since sunchokes make a decent substitute for potatoes, so maybe they'll make decent hash browns.

I've mostly used sunchokes for purees and raw preparations, so I'm there's some learning curve on frying and roasting. I know people make latkes with them, so why not this similar crispy breakfast treat? After giving them a good scrub (the skins seem to really try to hold on to dirt), Operation Hash Browns was underway.

I prepared the hash browns in pretty much the same way I do with potatoes. I used a box grater to shred them, placed in a paper towel and squeezed out excess moisture. I added about half of an onion, also grated and squeezed, and spread them out in a liberally-oiled hot, heavy skillet and seasoned with salt and pepper.

It surprised me that even after removing so much moisture, they still reduced by a good third when cooked. I didn't get a real crisp surface, like I would with potatoes, but I was thinking that might have been due to the extra moisture that was still escaping. I was able to get them to decently brown.

The verdict: Eh. Despite feeling like I was practically cooking them to death, they still tasted slightly undercooked. They also had a softer texture than I'd have liked. My husband ate them, but for me there just wasn't enough ketchup in the world. Objectively, they weren't terrible, they just weren't great.

Would I try them again? Actually, yes. I think they have potential, but need some tweaking. I think I would actually cook them through using a different method, squeeze as much liquid out as possible and then fry them. Either that or, like eggplant, use salt to draw out any extra moisture for about a half hour before attempting to fry. Also, I think that instead of making an entire skillet of them, I'd make little fry cakes out of them, so they're easier to manage.

When I do try again, I will definitely document it here. If you have tips or suggestions, please share!


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