Cardi alla Brindisina
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.
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
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.
This recipe is featured on Season 20 - Episode 2018.