Ahead of Thanksgiving, we spoke to Michael Tusk—chef and co-owner with his wife, Lindsay, of Three Star Quince in San Francisco—about a favorite dish of his—porcini mushrooms with Jerusalem artichoke and puntarelle salad (see recipe below). For more Thanksgiving recipes from chefs at MICHELIN restaurants, click here.
How does food move you?
Cooking has brought me to Hokkaido for ramen and Northern Italy for blood sausage. I catalogue my life according to what I've eaten. When I think of a dish, I remember exactly where I was sitting and who I was with. It’s the notion of the Proustian madeleine; food conjures memories. The great pleasure that I derive from cooking is all related to the satisfaction of feeding someone else.
Tell us about this dish.
We’ve had a drought in Northern California, but it finally started to rain and we received a bumper crop of sunchokes from Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas. We'll be eating a lot of sunchokes over the next few weeks. For Thanksgiving, I'll be making a ragu of porcini and sunchokes.
What does this dish mean to you?
I didn’t eat this dish when I was growing up, but it has the flavors of the Thanksgiving sides of my childhood.
The indelible memory from Thanksgiving dinners when I was growing up is the ritual related to carving the turkey. Once the bird is out of the oven, it’s purposefully rested in the kitchen, then ceremonially carved. At some point during high school, my dad passed the carving knife down to me.
What is the inspiration associated with this dish?
I cook very seasonally. Sunchokes and porcini are two of my favorite ingredients that are at their peak during November in Northern California. It's a palpably autumnal marriage. The beauty of this dish is the textural interplay between the two primary ingredients: the earthiness of the sunchokes and the silky, creaminess of the porcini. There are also a few surprise flavors buried in the ragu. That’s what’s exciting about cooking: discovering new and unexpected flavors.
Tell us about the ingredients in this dish.
I source sunchokes from Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas. Porcini are plentiful north of the city, but I can’t divulge my spots…
Porcini Mushroom, Jerusalem Artichoke, and Puntarelle Salad
- 1kg porcini mushrooms. Reserve any small, very firm mushrooms for shaving raw
- 1kg Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed
- 1 head Puntarelle, 200g leaves and ribs
- 125g sliced shallots
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 175g grapeseed oil
- 50 ml white vinegar (Tusk uses Cesare giacone Arneis)
- 25g new olive oil
- 10g salt
- 1 lemon
- 8 Cantabrico Anchovies in oil
Clean porcini mushrooms and slice 6mm thick. Cut the sunchokes the same thickness and pat dry. Heat a rondeau or large sauté pan until hot. Put some grapeseed oil in the pan and sauté the porcini mushrooms; as they caramelize, add some shallots, rosemary, and the bay leaf. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms. The idea is to build up nice caramelization in the pan and use only one pan in order to accumulate more flavor.
In the same pan add a little more grapeseed oil to cover the surface. Repeat the same process with the sunchokes by cooking with shallots and rosemary and gently seasoning with some salt. Add a little oil if needed, season gently, and cook until caramelized. The sunchokes will take longer to cook once caramelized so turn down the heat and be patient. Place all your porcini mushroom in a perforated pan to catch any juices and reserve.
Once the sunchokes are tender, taste and then add to the porcini mushrooms. Keep your pan for the puntarelle. Heat the pan one final time until hot, add a little grapeseed oil and sauté the puntarelle in one batch. Season with a pinch of salt and, when lightly browned and tender, add to the porcini-sunchoke mixture.
Deglaze the pan and scrape up any porcini, sunchoke, and puntarelle bits and add to the salad. Discard the rosemary and bay leaves and finish by zesting a lemon with a microplane and adding its juice. Add to salad the reserved porcini sunchoke juices that have come through the perforated pan. Finish by seasoning to taste with some finishing salt and, if needed, a little more vinegar. Shave the reserved raw porcini using a mandolin or simply slice thinly.
- It’s a personal choice to peel or not peel the Jerusalem artichokes. If not peeled, make sure to scrub the soil that's usually found in between the small protruding pieces.
- Delete anchovy if you are not a fan. If porcini are not available choose another mushroom.
- Only one pan is needed and the salad can be made ahead of time and simply rewarmed and finished with the raw porcini and anchovy if so desired.
Chef Michael Tusk at Fresh Run Farm near Bolinas.
Photo by Dora Tsui
Hero image: Chef Michael Tusk at Fresh Run Farm near Bolinas. Photo by Joe Weaver