Sunchokes are the kind of root veggie that can steal the show. Brown, knobby, and homely, they transform plates and attitudes if properly handled; people eating them for the first time resolve to make a habit of it. Chef Todd Erickson puts these tubers to delectable use at his hip gastro-lounge, Haven, in Miami Beach. (Erickson's innovative, precise cooking won Slow Food Miami's "Snail of Approval" award this spring, judged by Cooking Light Editor Scott Mowbray.)

"They're a great alternative to potatoes, with much more depth of flavor," the chef says of sunchokes, which are sometimes called Jerusalem artichokes, though they are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem. He likes their versatility: They can be sliced paper-thin and served raw, or roasted until tender and then mashed and mixed in with potatoes or roasted squash. He prefers to leave the skin on to take advantage of the extra snap it provides. The flavor is rich and nutty.

Erickson's steak and sunchoke dish is a play on classic meat and potatoes, with amped-up flavor from herby chimichurri. The sunchokes are roasted with a touch of honey until tantalizingly caramelized.Try this recipe at home if you can't squeeze in a trip to Miami Beach to sample Erickson's.

Hands-on: 22 min. Total: 2 hr. 7 min.

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ jalapeño pepper
  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound sunchokes, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 3 large shallots, peeled and cut into wedges
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Rub steak evenly with half of herb mixture; place in a zip-top plastic bag. Reserve remaining half of herb mixture. Let steak stand 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°.
  3. Combine honey and next 5 ingredients (through shallots) in a large bowl; toss to coat. Arrange sunchoke mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender and caramelized, stirring twice.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle steak evenly with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place steak on grill rack; grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut steak across the grain into thin slices; top with reserved herb mixture. Serve with sunchoke mixture.

Serves 4 (serving size: 3 ounces steak, 2 teaspoons herb mixture, and 1 cup sunchoke mixture)

CALORIES 447; FAT 25g (sat 6g, mono 15.8g, poly 1.9g); PROTEIN 25.6g; CARB 33.7g; FIBER 2.6g; CHOL 51mg; IRON 7.2mg; SODIUM 432mg; CALC 49mg