TikTokers are eating giant grilled sunflower heads. But this new foodie favorite is actually a classic Polish treat.
People are picking sunflowers from their yards, throwing them on the grill and slathering them in their favorite sauces and spices. The floral snack is said to taste like artichokes. It all started in 2020 when a viral Facebook recipe by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company made the rounds. Now grilled sunflower is catching on this summer over on TikTok.
A Pittsburgh restaurant may have first brought the dish to the U.S.
Tomasz Skowronski, a chef at the Eastern European restaurant Apteka, created the sunflower dish based on his Polish roots in 2018.
“I grew up in Poland,” Tomasz Skowronski told Delish. “In the countryside, it’s really common to see people eating whole heads of sunflower that are fully mature. Kids will be sitting on a fence picking and eating it, or you’ll have guys drinking a beer and eating it. I thought it was so striking and beautiful, and I never really saw it in the United States.”
But chef Jenna Asher made the dish a viral sensation in 2020
When chef Jenna Asher of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company posted a video featuring “grilled sunflower head” it racked up 1.3 million views. Asher had been imagining what Indigenous people in her area of Missouri might have eaten and how they prepared it. While she didn’t find any research to indicate they ate sunflowers in this way, Asher was inspired by Indigenous cooking.
“I was looking at a sunflower wondering how earlier people might’ve prepared it,” Asher told Delish.
How to cook grilled sunflower head
The most important step is choosing the correct sunflower. The sunflower should be just forming seeds that are still white and soft. Sunflowers with hardened seeds should be avoided.
“The key to [the] sunflower dish is finding a sunflower that’s bloomed but where the seeds are still elongated and immature, soft, with no ‘shell’ forming yet,” chef Skowronski revealed in an Instagram post.
- Sunflower head
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
2. Remove all the outer and inner petals so that only the soft seeds are left.
3. Brush the sunflower head in olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.
4. Place the sunflower head face down on the grill. Cover and let cook for five minutes.
5. Remove the head, drizzle with oil and seasonings of your choice. Enjoy.
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