The calendar says spring, but the Greenmarket isn’t quite there yet. During this fallow period, known by Brits as “the hungry gap,” the intrepid seasonal eater is still adrift in storage crops and overwintered vegetables left in the ground and dug up in spring, like the sunchokes available now at Paffenroth Gardens farm stand. The gnarly tubers, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, are crisp and nutty and can be cooked or eaten raw, as in this super-simple appetizer from Mario Batali’s newest book, Molto Gusto, a vegetable-centric collection of recipes from his Otto Enoteca Pizzeria.
Mario Batali’s Sunchokes With Walnut Gremolata
1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
2 tbs. slivered orange zest
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound firm sunchokes, scrubbed
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon or other flaky sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
(1) Coarsely chop the parsley, andcombine with walnuts, orange zest, and garlic in a small bowl, mixing well. (2) Using a Benriner (Japanese mandoline) or other vegetable slicer, thinly shave the sunchokes. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, (3) tossing well to thoroughly coat the sunchokes. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the gremolata, and serve. Serves 6. Adapted from Molto Gusto, by Mario Batali and Mark Ladner (Ecco; $29.99).