Sunchokes, Jerusalem artichokes, sunroot... Call it what you will, but it makes a great pizza!
I know I've already blogged about Pizzeria 712, but I just can't get that sunchoke pizza out of my mind. When we ordered dinner, we asked the waitress for recommendations and went with her suggestions. (A very good decision.) After she suggested the sunchoke pizza, but before we ordered it, we asked our cute waitress what a sunchoke was. Her answer,
...a cross between a sunflower and an artichoke...
Huh? What's that gonna be like? I just couldn't imagine it. I'm thinking a veggie with spiky points and seeds... Sorta sounds like a pinecone... How tasty is that gonna be?
Even after eating the sunchoke pizza, I wondered why is had been described as it was. I would describe it as being like a boiled potato--but in a good way! :) Our pizza had lots of interesting toppings, a lack of any "pizza sauce" and scant amounts of cheese. And yet, the sauce and cheese were not missed at all. But (as previously mentioned) the flavor was mildly reminiscent of a breakfast dish.
I came home and had to know more about the sunchoke. This is what I discovered. The sunchoke is also known as the Jerusalem artichoke. The edible portion is actually the root--and guess what, it looks like this:
Kinda looks like a potato, huh? Or maybe ginger root? But the texture is similar to an artichoke--which is the obvious link to that part of its name. (Although it is NOT related to the artichoke at all.) But what I found really interesting is the link to the sunflower. The sunflower is not apparent in the looks or the flavor of the sunchoke that was on our pizza, but look at the flowers that the sunchoke produces...
I see the reason for the sunflower reference, although it's completely irrelevant to the flavor... And, shocking, the sunchoke is a member of the daisy family. Go figure... So, next time you see some pretty yellow flowers, dig up the roots! You might not have sunflowers on your hands, you might have the makings of a fabulous sunchoke pizza!