Inspired by a Menu

March 10, 2011

There is a restaurant in Seattle called Sitka and Spruce and it is a pretty much uncontested local treasure.  It is always on “best of” lists and gets lots of awards.  They are passionate about local and have been for years – even before it was super cool to cook like a locavore.  The restaurant used to be in a tiny and unassuming space in an urban strip mall.  Randy and I had some amazing meals there.  The menu was always just written up on the blackboard according to the chef’s whims and the food was always super fresh, innovative, and very tasty.

One night, we went in for dinner and were told that it would be a 20 minute wait.  We went across the street for a beer only to come back and have them tell us that it would be another 20 minutes.  I’ll spare you the play by play but by the time we walked out, we had been waiting for an hour and a half with no apology, no offer for an appetizer on the house, no comped glass of wine.  Randy swore he would never eat there again.

And, until recently, he didn’t.  When the restaurant moved into decidedly more swanky digs and I was dying to try it, I went for lunch with friends.  Twice.  The food is still super local, inspired, and very flavorful.  They also have an incredibly heavy hand with the olive oil which I don’t love.  Still, it is a very special place.  And they have a tiny grocery area where they sell amazing things that are hard to find elsewhere.  Last time I was in there, I picked up some Muscat vinegar.  As I was waiting to pay, I glanced at the menu.  All I saw was something like Potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes, Arugula, and a Poached Egg.  If I hadn’t already eaten lunch, I would have ordered it right then and there.  So I did the next best thing.

I am often inspired by menus.  The dishes I make from those inspirations are usually things I have actually eaten in the restaurant.  But with those ingredients, all of which I was able to find in the Sunday farmers market, I knew I would have a home run.  Plus, roasted potatoes for dinner?  Hurray!

Potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes, Arugula, and a Poached Egg
Dana Treat Original, Inspired by Sitka and Spruce
Serves 2

I confess to having an egg poacher (which is mine look like that) so I am not going to offer advice on how to do it the old fashioned way.  I am not very good at it.  You can check here for good instructions.  Jerusalem artichokes look like something you want to peel, but it is not necessary.  Just give them a good scrub.

1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 medium Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
Olive oil
8 cherry tomatoes
2 ounces arugula leaves
Good olive oil
Your favorite vinegar
4 eggs, poached
3 tbsp. chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet and then add the Jerusalem artichokes along with a pinch of salt.  Try to lay them in one layer if possible.  Cook, turning occasionally, until completely tender and browned in spots, about 10 minutes.  Turn out onto a paper towel lined plate.

Place the potatoes and sweet potatoes on a medium baking sheet.  Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then sprinkle on a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Place the tomatoes on a small baking sheet and drizzle them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  The sweet potatoes will roast faster than the Yukon golds so separate them on the baking sheet.

Bake the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, or until starting to brown.  Bake the sweet potatoes and Yukon golds until fork tender, about 16 minutes for the sweet and 25 minutes for the Yukons.  Resist the urge to toss them, allow them to develop a nice brown side.

Place about 1 ounce of arugula on each plate.  Drizzle with your best olive oil and then your favorite vinegar and sprinkle with salt.  Add pepper if you like it.  Top with half the vegetables and one or two poached eggs.  Sprinkle with parsley and repeat with the other plate.


  1. I am planning on planting Jerusalem artichokes this year in the garden – so thank you for a recipe idea! I love them but don’t have a lot of ideas in mind when using them…
    Have a great rest of your week,

    Comment by kimberly — March 10, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

  2. I know this sounds weird, but my mouth literally watered when I read this post and saw your photos. Literally.

    You are a cruel temptress, and I am quite hungry.

    Comment by cheryl — March 10, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

  3. The poached eggs look just gorgeous in your picture!

    I just wrote about discovering Jerusalem Artichokes in this article:

    I’m going to plant them in my yard this year.

    Comment by Julia's Child — March 10, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  4. yum! yes that sounds very, very good to me. I’m determined to get great at poaching eggs, but if it doesn’t work out, I’ll be on the look out for that “egg poacher”. I didn’t know there was such a thing. Looks like your eggs turn out beautifully!

    Comment by elizabeth / sophisticated pie — March 10, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

  5. Oh Dana

    I know just how you feel. Love SandS. Hate the wait.
    Even while laid low with food poisoning, this makes me hungry.
    Will try soon.

    Comment by Ivy Manning — March 11, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  6. I really love the idea of hearing a description of a dish and then making whatever you imagine it to be. This way you can’t ever be disappointed because it doesn’t quite taste the way you pictured it to! I love the sound of this…so much great seasonal produce!

    Comment by Joanne — March 11, 2011 @ 1:12 am

  7. Oh, this salad looks fantastic. Lenny is a huge runny egg fan, especially when it is added to other food. I am going to have to make this for him.

    Comment by Chez Us — March 11, 2011 @ 2:04 am

  8. Yum. I made my own version of this tonight using what I had on hand and used my egg poacher for the first time (and it worked!). Thanks for the inspiration.

    Comment by Charlotte — March 11, 2011 @ 5:26 am

  9. What a great combination – I could eat this for any meal of the day :) I love Jerusalem artichokes but haven’t cooked with them for a while; I’ll keep this in mind next time I see them at the farmer’s market.

    Comment by Nancy — March 11, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  10. Love the picture. looks yummy.

    Comment by Nithu — March 11, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  11. Hi. I am a new visitor and I am enjoying looking over your blog so much. I love this recipe. It is beautiful and sounds delicious. I am huge fan of poached eggs so this recipe is righ up my alley.

    Comment by Angie — March 12, 2011 @ 12:26 am

  12. love that. I like to get inspiration from restaurant menus as well. Sometimes we’re limited by our own creativity, so no harm in getting a little boost elsewhere. Beautiful plate of goodness, dana.

    Comment by Sara — March 13, 2011 @ 12:27 am

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