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Cardoons Brindisi

Cardi alla Brindisina

Mary Ann Esposito

Cardoons are a winter vegetable, though they continue to grow into the spring, Cardoons are members of the thistle family as are artichokes and bear a strikingly similar taste to them. People shine way from this vegetable because it is often not available and is a bit time consuming to prepare, but you can find them already cleaned in many grocery stores. They are 18 to 22 inch long, pale green to white stalks ribbed like celery, but with sharper edges. Some are straight but the most sought after are curved, a feature that results in their being nicknamed gobbi, or hunchbacks. From a botanical standpoint they're close cousins of the artichoke, but do not produce flowers -- what one eats is the stalk, whose preparation requires a certain amount of care. Cardoons are quite fibrous; the fibers run lengthwise, like those in celery stalks, and must be stripped out. Once they have been cut they darken quickly (like artichokes) unless put in lightly acidulated water.

Serves four


2 pounds cardoons
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons of capers in salt, well rinsed
3 anchovies, minced
Grated Pecorino cheese
Bread crumbs
Salt to taste


Wash and peel outer layer of cardoons, then cut them into 5 inch lengths. Cook them in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Place them in an oiled casserole and top with the olive and parsley mixture. Sprinkle the cheese and bread crumbs over the top. Drizzlel the top with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes in a 350F oven.

item recipe is featured in Episode 2018 of Season 20.

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  1. A. Messina's avatar

    A. Messina

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    Love your show! Love cardoon. Miss my mama s cardone! Tony
  2. john's avatar


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    where can you buy cardoons. I have been trying to find them for years.

    thank you
  3. anita's avatar


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    Just watched the show in repeat 28 Feb. I agree with A. Messina, I miss my mom & g'ma's also, that was back when we could still harvest wild cardoon here in the East. The wild 'finds' were so coveted that relatives have been blindfolded on the drive to 'the spot', allowed to harvest some and then blindfolded for the return drive.

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