Crispy Sunchokes with Herbed Aioli

By / Food / August 14th, 2023 / 1

Excerpted from Prairie by Dan Clapson and Twyla Campbell. Copyright © 2023 Dan Clapson and Twyla Campbell. Photographs by Dong Kim. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Twyla Campbell: The first time I made this dish, I knew I was on to something good because I ended up eating the entire batch, snacking on them like French fries. Known by a variety of names—including Jerusalem artichokes and earth apples—sunchokes are neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke, but rather a species of sunflower. The edible roots look like ginger roots, and while you can eat them raw, they’re absolutely dynamite when roasted in the oven.

Sunchokes can be harvested at various times of year in Canada but taste best after a hard frost. If the ground remains unfrozen in winter, you can dig these gems up in January. Most often, you’ll find them at farmers’ markets between November and February. Roasting them until crispy turns these knobby tubers into orbs of glory; great on their own but even better when dipped in an herbed aioli.



  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1½ lb sunchokes
  • ½ cup Aioli (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
  • ¼ tsp Maldon sea salt, for finishing


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour 1 Tbsp of the oil over the surface. Use the back of a large spoon to spread the oil evenly on the sheet.

Rinse the sunchokes and cut off any blackened parts.

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the sunchokes, cook until fork-tender (about 15 minutes), and drain.

Place the sunchokes on the prepared baking sheet and, with the back of a coffee cup, gently press down on each sunchoke until it cracks and flattens to about ½ inch thick.

Drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbsp oil.

Bake for 15 minutes, and then turn the sunchokes over with a spatula and bake until they’ve reached a desirable crispy texture, about 10 minutes more.

While the sunchokes are baking, place the aioli in a small bowl, add the parsley and tarragon, and mix well with a fork.

Finish the sunchokes with Maldon sea salt and serve them warm on a platter with a small bowl of aioli in the centre.



Twyla Campbell: The word “aioli” is a combination of two French words: garlic (ail) and oil (olio). To make a traditional aioli, garlic and salt are combined to make a paste, and oil is added and whisked to the point of emulsification. Quite often, an egg yolk is added to enhance the emulsification process, as we have done here.

The wonderful part about making your own aioli is that you can add a variety of seasonings or other ingredients to alter the flavour but still keep the base intact. Check your cupboard and fridge. If you’ve got capers or hot sauce or mustard or herbs, a whole new world of condiments has just been placed at your feet—or, in this case, on your table.

Grab some local garlic, a couple of egg yolks, and some canola oil and get whiskin’. Our aioli is the perfect accompaniment to grilled steak, steamed new potatoes, or fish.


  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • ½ tsp white pepper


Add the garlic and salt to a mortar and use a pestle to grind into a paste.

To a large bowl, add the egg yolks and vinegar and whisk until blended.

Add the garlic paste and blend.

Slowly whisk in the oil until the mixture emulsifies and thickens into a sauce.

Add the pepper and whisk to incorporate.

Taste the aioli and season with a bit more salt (if needed).

Store in a lidded container in the fridge, and mark the date on the label. Because this recipe contains raw egg yolks, it should be consumed within 4 days.


To make sea buckthorn aioli, replace the apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of Sea Buckthorn Juice.

DAN CLAPSON is the Globe and Mail restaurant critic for the Canadian Prairies and the co-founder of the food media and events company Eat North. He has contributed to many publications including Out Magazine, Eater, Xtra, RICARDO, and enRoute. He is also a regular guest expert on radio and TV shows like Global News, CTV Morning Live, and more. Clapson co-owns the popular Calgary bar and event space The Prairie Emporium which holds a wide range of culinary, music, and cultural events year round.

TWYLA CAMPBELL is CBC Edmonton radio’s long-standing food columnist and a freelance writer who has written for several food and travel publications including AFAR, Matador Network, enRoute, and AMA Insider. She is a go-to source when it comes to the topic of all things culinary and sits on several national and local food judging panels. Twyla’s first book, Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup, was released in October 2018 and debuted at #1 on the Book Publishers Association of Alberta’s Bestseller Non-Fiction list.


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