Verde Salad on Pureed Sunchokes
If you haven’t had sunchokes, you’re in for a treat. Sunchokes are a tuber from a type of sunflower. It is slighty sweet and a little similar to jicima in flavor. The candied prosciutto spirals are taken from two celebrity chefs on Iron Chef America, Art Smith and Michael Symon. Smith wrapped bacon strips around wood dowels to make crispy spirals served with soup, and Symon served candied prosciutto with brown sugar ice cream. I just had to try combining Smith’s presentation with Symon’s flavors. The result is a great touch on this salad.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 thick slices prosciutto
- 4 hardwood dowels (maple or cherry), 1″ in diameter and about 9″ long.
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 generous pinches kosher salt
- 10 to 12 ounces sunchokes, peeled and chopped
- About 5 ounces shelled soybeans (edamame), fresh or frozen
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- Finely-ground sea salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 bunch watercress, cleaned, leaves only
- About 1 ounce fresh pea sprouts
- Coarsely-ground black pepper
Prepare the grill for indirect cooking at 350 to 400°F.
Make a simple syrup for the candied prosciutto spirals. Combine the sugar and water in a small pan and bring to a simmer.
Stir to combine, remove from heat and let cool. One at a time, dip the prosciutto slices into the simple syrup and then wrap around a wooden dowel. Place the dowels in the indirect cooking zone, close the hood and cook until crisp, about 20 minutes. You’ll have to watch the temperature carefully to avoid burning the sugar in the glaze.
Remove from the grill and let the dowels cool.
Note: You can also cook the prosciutto on a grill-safe baking sheet if you don’t want to use the dowels.
Bring the milk, butter and kosher salt to a low boil in a medium pot. Stir in the sunchokes, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until tender.
While the sunchokes are cooking, bring a medium pot of water to a rapid boil. Boil the edamame for about 7 minutes until cooked al dente. Drain and rinse thoroughly in cold water to stop the cooking.
Refill the pot with water and return to a boil. Boil the asparagus for about 1 minute until cooked al dente. Drain and rinse thoroughly in cold water to stop the boiling. Slice the asparagus into pieces 1 inch long.
Season the edamame and asparagus with sea salt. Reserve.
When the sunchokes are tender, transfer the sunchokes and about half the liquid to a blender. Reserve the other half of the liquid. Blend to a smooth puree, adding more liquid as needed.
Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice until thickened.
To serve, gently remove the candied prosciutto from the dowels. Smear some warm sunchoke puree along the edge of four plates. Next to the puree, add the watercress, sprouts, edamame and asparagus. Drizzle with the dressing and season with black pepper. Top with the candied prosciutto twists.