Picking and Cooking a Cardoon (Cardi)

2014-02-08 11.11.20

Above is the cardoon, complete with ‘ Cardoon Goblin’, in my garden before harvesting.

I could not decide when to pick my cardoon, but following wide consultations, decided to pick it today. I have 2 more mature plants growing so I could have afforded to experiment.

2014-02-08 11.22.46

The harvested cardoon on my kitchen table – looking huge!

After cleaning and cooking the cardoon I decided that it was picked too early as the thicker stems, though hard and tough looking, were soft and tasty when cooked. If I left it to grow more there may have been more of the thicker stems, resulting in more to eat.

You need lots of time for a cardoon dish and I did not time myself but it took about half an hour from start to finish in preparation plus cooking time. There are many recipes to choose from and I went for the anchovie sauce which was a great success and enjoyed by four adults, who had it as a side to the main, in no time at all!

2014-02-07 - Cardoon and anchovie

Cardoon with Anchovie Sauce 

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees C

1 large cardoon, leaves and stringy bits removed, sliced in 50 mm pieces kept in a bowl of water with the juice of a lemon mixed in. This prevents discoloring.

1 clove garlic, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

10 anchovies – the salty preserved kind, drained and chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook the cardoon pieces for about 30 minutes until  tender. In the mean time butter an oven proof dish that will hold all of the cardoon pieces. Melt the rest of the butter in a pan and add the anchovies and garlic and stir gently until the anchovies dissolve. Put the cardoon into the prepared dish, pour the anchovie sauce over and sprinkle with the Parmigiano cheese. Now bake it in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

6 thoughts on “Picking and Cooking a Cardoon (Cardi)

  1. Pingback: Cardoon – beautiful thistle with attitude | Back Yard Farmer

  2. I had heard of cardoons before but thought that they were a kind of root… most interesting. They look like they belong to the globe artichoke/thistle family and should be easy to grow (if you can keep the wallabies and chooks away from them 😉 ). Cheers for sharing this. I am going to have to do a bit of reasearch today. I wish I could eat spear/Scotch thistles…they are spreading the fuzzy love around all over the place here right now and it looks like it is snowing which tells me that I am going to have to be a very VERY active narf7 next year when it comes to hoeing them out 😦

      • I would be most appreciative. I love being able to turn a problem into a solution and find ways to use “weeds”. I am just about to start trying to source canna lilies and day lilies in order to plant mass swathes of them on the property because I just found out that they are hardy, perennial AND edible!!! Don’t you just love it when you get more out of something than you initially thought? 🙂

          • Apparently all of the day lily is edible (if you use the old fashioned orange ones) and the tuber of the canna is edible. Same goes for the humble dahlia… edible tuber. 🙂 Not 100% sure about the cooking at the moment but the book “Perennial vegetables: from artichoke to ‘zuiki’ taro, a gardener’s guide to over 100 delicious, easy-to-grow edibles” by Eric Toensmeier shares a whole lot of edibles that we commonly grow that most of us would have NO idea were edible. A good thing to know in my opinion 🙂

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