Friday, January 7, 2011

Simple Sunchoke Soup- Bad Idea Fridays

I'll get to how this is a bad idea later. Serves 2.

Peel and slice 1/4 pound sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes) into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Simmer in two cups salted water until soft. Puree. Reheat and serve warm.

You can see that I served mine with half of a tiny steamed artichoke, a drizzle of safflower oil, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. That's right- every single part of this dish is from the Asteraceae.

I am unhealthily obsessed with dishes where all organic ingredients (the definition where the opposite is inorganic, not the one where it's conventional) derive from a single botanical family. I like how chemical compounds found throughout the family reinforce each other and interact in new and different ways. Also, I spend a lot of time driving in cars full of botanists; after you've played the alphabet genus game, there needs to be one more icebreaker game before you start talking about how awesome your cat is.

What sort of inspired interplay of flavors can one expect from this soup? Well, there's a crapton of inulin- a polysaccharide that human bodies are confused by, but beneficial intestinal bacteria love. Somehow this makes members of the Asteraceae oddly filling. To quote the typically insatiable C post-sunchoke soup, "Huh. Somehow, I don't really want to eat anything more." *

*This is not like my homemade bread. I swear it's edible. Tasty even.

There's also that distinctive sunflowery terpenoid that I can't find the name for- but when you have to identify a plant from one juvenile leaf, knowing this scent is a distinct advantage. Aspiring botanists should sniff all the ingredients for the soup.

There are also wonderful bitter alkaloids, although this soup lacks them. C prevented me from adding endive, escarole, and assorted other lettuces. Some people like a subtle flavor of gardens gone to bolt in their soup. Some people do not. The latter sort of people should not body check the former away from the stove. One has to get one's terrible ideas from somewhere.


  1. I'm still missing how this was a bad idea...

  2. I remember that bowl! Also, hooray for bitter greens in soup!

  3. We'll never know if bitter greens in soup is a bad idea now, because C vetoed it.