Cardoon: Artichokes’ Distant Cousin

At the Hollywood Farmers’ Market I’ve happened upon one of the more unusual items that I’ve ever seen at the Flora Bella stand.  CARDOON.

As the lovely young woman explained, cardoon (just like cartoon but with a “d”) is a thistle in the artichoke family, sometimes known as the poor man’s artichoke.  And much like life, cardoon must be blanched of its bitterness.  Fortunately, no therapy is necessary, just a good boil in heavily salted water for about twenty-five to thirty minutes.

Of course, I rushed home to create something new.  BUYER BE WARNED!!! Cardoon stalks have really nasty, sharp thistles that run up and down them.  So make sure you slice those off as soon as you get home.

I made a very simple preparation:

  • Remove thistles and leaves off the stalks of the cardoon
  • Cut stalks into half inch slices
  • Place in well salted water and boil for half hour.  When done strain.
  • Chop 3 cloves of garlic and an onion, saute in olive oil until wilted
  • Add the cardoon saute
  • Add zest of one lemon, salt and pepper

I loved them, Nahid not so much.  Give it a try and let me know.

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