Summer 1993


Sunchokes and butternut squash in caper bay butter
Photography by Matt Hocking

I was in line at the grocery store today with a cart full of root vegetables and winter greens. I also had a few bunches of sunflowers. “They’re my favorites,” said Diamond, the woman who was checking me out. “They’re so cheerful and always brighten a room.”

Sunflowers

I love sunflowers too. They remind me of the summer of 1993. Sunflowers were all the rage. They appeared on t-shirts and tea towels, wallpaper and wrapping paper, greeting cards, recipe cards and on the pages of gardening, cooking and other lifestyle magazines.

The sunflower, known by its latin name Helianthus annuus also reminds me of the closely related sunchoke, Helianthus tuberosus. Which is why I had the sunflowers in my cart; to decorate the table at tomorrow’s root vegetable appearance on Good Morning Washington. They’ll be right next to a platter of these roasted sunchokes and Butternut squash.

Roasted Sunchokes and Butternut Squash

Serves 6-8

Sunchokes and squash:

Butternut squash and sunchokes with bay and caper butter
Photography by Matt Hocking
  • 1 lb sunchokes, halved and cut in 2” pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • White pepper
  • 4 cups of Butternut squash cut in 1” cubes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Caper brown butter:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon capers

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Toss sunchokes with garlic and 1 tbs olive oil. Season with white pepper and salt and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 15 min.
  • Toss squash in remaining 1 tbs oil. Season with salt and pepper and add to baking sheet with sunchokes, in a single layer. Return to oven and roast until squash is tender and beginning to brown on edges, about another 20-25 minutes.
  • Meanwhile make caper brown butter. Place butter with vinegar, bay leaves and capers over medium heat to melt. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until butter solids fall to bottom of pan and turn a rich brown.
  • To serve, drizzle roasted sunchokes and pumpkin with butter and sprinkle with parsley.

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