A note on the mushroom-topinambour dish: I espied the topinambours (also called sunchokes or Jerusalem artichoke, even though they are nothing remotely like an artichoke) in my friend’s fridge. He had dismissed them as potatoes or some other uninteresting root vegetable, but my eyes widened in excitement as I excitedly proclaimed “you have topinambours!” The first time I had this was at Terre à Terre, a fantastic vegetarian restaurant in Brighton with friends many moons ago.
For this dish, I steamed the topinambours and made them into a purée with just a hint of parmesan. The shitake mushrooms were sauteed pleasantly in marsala wine as well as the water from the mushroom soak. A touch of kosher salt, and then delicately placed upon a thick smear of the topinambour purée, topped with fresh ground pepper and fresh chives. Miam!
Not shown here were some particularly juicy oysters on the half shell, we just ate them too quickly. The birthday girl was ecstatic and the evening was a success.