Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) are a great winter root vegetable. They are native to North America and related to sunflowers. The tubers taste best after at least one hard frost, and they can be harvested anytime the ground is not frozen. When raw they are somewhat like water chestnuts, and when cooked their flavor is reminiscent of artichoke hearts.
For this tart I used a corn flour rosemary crust with a roasted sunchoke, leek, and pancetta filling. I am able to harvest rosemary from my garden year round, so I like to use it in the winter when the more tender herbs are sleeping. The rosemary perfumes the crust and the cornflour lends some nice texture. The filling is a combination of roasted sunchokes, leeks, cheese and pancetta. The sunchokes are the star of this dish, and the rest of the ingredients make a great cast of supporting characters! I think a slice of this combined with a salad would be a perfect late winter lunch or light supper. —hardlikearmour
one 10 to 11-inch tart
whole grain corn flour or fine corn meal
freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh rosemary (chop an additional 1/2 teaspoon for the filling)
unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch slices
ice cold water
sunchokes, scrubbed well
freshly ground black pepper
pancetta (or substitute bacon)
small to medium leek
smoked or regular whole milk mozzarella
gouda (smoked if using regular mozzarella)
Combine dry ingredients in bowl of food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Scatter butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse to combine, until mixture is crumbly looking like coarse sand with some pea-sized pieces of butter. Scrape down sides of bowl. Combine egg and water, and mix thoroughly. Drizzle the egg and water mixture over the dough, and pulse just until dough begins to collect into clumps. Scrape down bowl at least once during the process to ensure everything is well mixed.
Dump dough into a 10- or 11-inch non-stick tart pan, then use your hands to pat it out. Cover the bottom and sides of the tart pan with an even layer of dough. Refrigerate until ready to assemble tart.
Heat oven to 400º F with rack in lower middle position. Cover rimmed baking sheet with foil. Dice sunchokes into 1/2-inch sized pieces. Place in medium bowl, and toss well with olive oil, black pepper, and sugar. Spread sunchokes on prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once, until they are soft and starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Dice pancetta. Place in small frying pan, and heat over medium heat until most of fat has rendered out and pancetta is crisp. Drain on paper towel and set aside. (Reserve fat for another use if desired.)
Split leek in half lengthwise. Rinse well between the leaves to make sure no grit remains. Slice leek into thin half moons. Measure out 2/3 cup, and reserve remaining leek slices for a different use. Set aside.
Shred mozzarella. Set aside.
Cube gouda into about 1/4-inch dice. Set aside.
To assemble tart, remove tart shell from refrigerator. Sprinkle crust with mozzarella. Scatter leeks, sunchokes, pancetta, rosemary, and cubed gouda in an even layer over the mozzarella.
Bake for approximately 22 to 25 minutes, rotating pan about halfway. The crust should be light brown and the cheese should be melted, bubbling and just starting to brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Alternately cool to room temperature before serving.
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.