Green Kitchen: Roasted Sunchokes and Broccoli

Green Kitchen is a bi-weekly column about nutritious, inexpensive, and ethical food and cooking. It's penned by the lovely Jaime Green.

Ever since The Glorious Return of Gas to My Oven, I have been making good use of my fully functional kitchen. I've been boiling water on the stovetop for tea, marvelling at how quickly the kettle whistles. I've roasted a chicken (you know, what with eating meat again). I've baked two versions of Chickpea Cake and even broiled salmon when my fish-allergic boyfriend was out of the house. But my favorite thing to do, the thing I missed most in my oven's time off, is to roast broccoli.

I am a full believer in the power of oil, salt, and high heat to transform almost any vegetable into a delicacy. Sauteed Brussels sprouts, roasted root vegetables or cauliflower, even oven-roasted kale – these methods all move their produce from tasty enough healthy choices to mouth-watering heaven, as if heaven is a thing you eat. And broccoli perhaps benefits from this treatment best.

This is a variation on Ina Garten's recipe, which I learned by way of The Amateur Gourmet (where it is called, accurately, The Best Broccoli of Your Life). It is rich and hearty, a little sweet from caramelized edges, good and salty from... salt. It's also super easy – you toss broccoli with salt and oil and throw it in the oven. Set it and forget it, basically. And then, after all that zero hard work, you get something amazingly, addictively delicious that is also, lest we forget, broccoli.

This weekend I took my dear broccoli to a new level, by way of a little greenmarket desperation curiosity. While strolling through with my friend J. for eggs, onions, and heavy cream (my new obsession) – the only good things to find in a February farmers market – I saw something intriguing between the onions and ten kinds of potatoes: Jerusalem Artichokes. They are neither Israeli nor artichokes, but rather knobby little roots that I conveniently – thank you for writing seasonal recipes, fellow foodbloggers – had read about just a few days before. (You can swing by that very Mark's Daily Apple post for more history of the sunchoke, and a couple more recipe ideas.)

Let's see. Roasted sunchokes, roasted broccoli. Creamy and nutty, toothsome and savory. Roasted, roasted. In my fridge, in my fridge. It obviously took a great feat of culinary inspiration and general genius for this combination to be conceived. (Thanks for sending me to college, mom!)

Note: Make sure to dry your broccoli and sunchokes THOROUGHLY. I'd even recommend not washing the broccoli. It's going to be in a hot oven for a long time – anything bad on there's gonna get killed, and anything that doesn't get killed in the oven is some sort of superpowerful freak germ that was going to get you anyway.


If this looks nice, you'll surely appreciate:

Roasted Sunchokes and Broccoli
Serves 4
Adapted from Ina Garten/The Amateur Gourmet and Mark's Daily Apple.

1 ½ lb broccoli (about 5 cups of florets)
1 lb sunchokes (about 4 cups sliced)
2 T olive oil, divided
salt to taste

1) Preheat oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

2) Chop broccoli into florets. (Put the stems aside for another use.) Toss in a large bowl with 1 T oil and a sprinkle of salt. Spread in a single layer on one baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little more salt if you like.

3) Slice or quarter sunchoked into relatively uniformly sized chunks, a little less than an inch thick. Toss in your large bowl with the remaining 1 T of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Spread on a single layer on the other baking sheet, ideally with each piece lying flat on a cut side (for optimal browning).

4) Cook broccoli and sunchokes for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown (or a little darker). Half-way through, swap them between the top and bottom racks, and stir/move around the veggies, adding salt if desired.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Cost Per Serving:
211 calories, 7.5g fat, 5.4g fiber, 6.2g protein, $1.41

5 cups broccoli: 155 calories, 1.7g fat, 11.8g fiber, 12.8g protein, $3.00
4 cups sunchokes: 438 calories, 0.1g fat, 9.6g fiber, 12g protein, $2.50
2 T olive oil: 252 calories, 28g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.12
1 t salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
TOTALS: 845 calories, 29.7g fat, 21.4g fiber, 24.8g protein, $5.64
PER SERVING (TOTALS/4): 211 calories, 7.5g fat, 5.4g fiber, 6.2g protein, $1.41