Sunchokes, or Jerusalem artichokes, are the roots of a sunflower-like plant that can be eaten raw, boiled, broiled, mashed, as soup, or in this case, as part of a mayonnaise-based salad mix like tuna or chicken salad.
Some people claim sunchokes taste like artichoke, but I don't see it. I think they taste like their own thing entirely - with elements of potato, nut, celery, and other flavors. And they make a great sandwich spread ingredient
If you use Vegan mayo (and I actually prefer Vegannaise to regular mayo), this recipe isn't just vegetarian - it's Vegan.
I made one mistake in assembling the sandwich, and that was not putting spinach leaves between the salad and the bread. The mayo has moisture and the sunchokes have moisture that love a nice dry place to leech into, like a slice of toasted bread.
On the plate with the sandwich is a mix of parsnips and celery root that I dosed with olive oil and herbs de provence and roasted in the oven at 425. They were tasty, but the texture wasn't quite right so that's all the recipe you get from me on the side dish for now.
Do try the sandwich, however, which was delicious and a nice change from all that carnivorous fare at Thanksgiving.
Sunchoke Salad Sandwich (makes 3)
8-12 oz. cleaned scrubbed sunchokes
1 celery rib, diced fine
1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine
1/2 small red onion, diced fine
1 cup clean baby spinach leaves
1 red tomato, sliced into 6 slices, plus top and bottom trimming
"enough" mayonnaise or Vegan substitute - about 3 tablespoons or so.
salt and pepper to taste
6 slices hearty wheat bread
Scrub the sunchokes very well. You don't have to peel them if you are sure you've removed all the dirt. I used a plastic dobie pad I'd microwaved briefly. You may peel them if you wish, but you'll need more sunchokes to make up for the loss of the mass of the peel.
Grate the sunchokes into a medium bowl. Squeeze the water out of the sunchokes with your fists after they've been grated and drain. Ok, you could wrap them in a paper towel before squeezing, but it's not nearly as satisfying as going bareback.
Add the celery, bell pepper, and onion. Mix well. Add some of the the mayonnaise and mix until the whole is thoroughly moist, but not soupy. It should look like a slightly dry tuna salad. If still to dry, continue to add mayo until it reaches the consistency you desire.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Lay down a few spinach leaves on a slice of toast, just enough to protect the bread from the mayo in the salad. Spread as much as you wish of the salad (up to a 1/3 of the total) on top of the layer of spinach. Top with two slices of tomato, and 1/3 cup of spinach.
Add the second slice of bread, cut diagonally and serve. Repeat with rest of ingredients to make three sandwiches.