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In medium saucepan, cover sunchokes with 1-inch cold water. Season generously with sea salt. Set over high heat and bring to boil, then reduce heat to maintain gentle simmer. Cook 10 minutes, until sunchokes are tender (a paring knife inserted should meet little resistance).
Drain sunchokes and let cool enough to handle. Place on cutting board. Using large bottomed glass, press each sunchoke firmly until flattened but still in one piece. Take care not to press so hard that they break apart.
Heat oil over medium heat in large cast iron skillet. Add sunchokes in single layer and cook 3 minutes, without moving, until well browned. Flip sunchokes, then add butter to pan and allow to melt. Add thyme and maple to melted butter and continue to cook 3 minutes longer, spooning butter over sunchokes, until browned and glazed on second side.
Transfer sunchokes to serving plate and spoon maple thyme butter on top. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt; and serve immediately.