cardoon with garlic, caper, green olive and anchovy

by Heguiberto on January 24, 2013

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Okay. They say cardoon’s flavor and texture resembles artichokes. I like artichokes, a lot. But as everyone knows, they’re technically difficult to prepare. So many sharp rough leaves to remove before you get to the flavorful choke. Well, in that sense, cardoon isn’t too different, either. Cardoons don’t grow chokes. Instead you have to remove the leaves and thorns, peel the stalks, remove the stringy fiber from them, then boil the tough buggers for some 30 minutes before you’re ready to begin!

But I’m brave in the kitchen so I finally decided to endure the cardoon challenge.

cardoon with garlic, caper, green olive and anchovy

cardoon with garlic, caper, green olive and anchovy

Frankly, I have yet to decide if it was worth it. This is loads of work for a somehow mediocre flavored end result. Cardoon and artichoke plants look alike: both gorgeous with spindly long stalks and silvery green leaves. I have to agree cardoon does taste slightly like artichokes but the texture isn’t quite right, sort of like crunchy and watery celery stalks or maybe chayote. I love both celery and chayote but since I was primed for artichokes, this was a tragic disappointment.

I followed this recipe to clean and parboil my cardoon.

I started with a whole plant but by the end only ended up with about 2½ cups of the prepared veggie. I cooked them like I do artichoke hearts. This recipe is a variation of the one with mint and anchovy (without the mint since I didn’t have it) and my favorite one with lots of olives.

cardoon plant

cardoon plant

cardoon with garlic, caper, green olive and anchovy

2½ cups cooked cardoons
4 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 tbsp capers chopped
½ green olives chopped
2 anchovy fillets
½ to 1 bunch Italian parsley chopped
1½ dry white wine
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half lemon
Black pepper

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a saucepan followed by garlic and anchovies. Cook at low temperature for about a minute or so. Anchovies will dissolve. Bring temp to high then add capers, olives, parsley and cardoon. Toss to combine, add white wine, cover the pan and bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper, squeeze with lemon juice and finally add remaining of olive oil. Serve as a side dish, warm or at room temperature.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Devaki @ weavethousandflavors January 27, 2013 at 9:02 am

Don’t you just hate it Hegui, when a recipe turns out to be disappointing after a whole lot of effort. Thank you for saving me from buying these 🙂

And btw I must admit I’m crazy for chayotes and artichokes so I know exactly how you feel!

chow! DEVAKI @ weavethousandflavors
Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..An Excellent Sort of Mistake ~ Buttermilk Apple Crumb CakeMy Profile

Tom | Tall Clover Farm January 28, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Heguiberto, you know I love cardoons, in the garden that is. For years and years I’ve grown them for their robust blue green foliage and purple-popping blossoms, but I must say I’ve come to a conclusion; Keep cardoons in the garden for ornamental value and grow artichokes to eat. I’ve tried to like cardoon’s culinary attributes but its too much work for too little flavor and texture payoff. Yep, I’m keeping my cardoons in the garden for my view, and artichokes for my plate.
Tom | Tall Clover Farm recently posted..Cooking Up Community and Apple PieMy Profile

OysterCulture February 15, 2013 at 8:00 pm

oh wow, this has my name all over it. thank you for sharing.

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