Twice Cooked CardoonsClick to Play

Twice Cooked Cardoons alla Nonna Galasso

Cardi Rifatti alla Nonna Galasso

Mary Ann Esposito

Cardoons were one of Nonna Galasso’s favorite vegetables; she had an eye for scouring the roadsides for wild ones. To me they looked like dangerous weapons, curled up long stalks with pinchers on them. I remember her cleaning them on sheets of newspaper, cutting off the pinchers with a knife, stripping the strings off the stalks and boiling, boiling, boiling them for hours to get out the bitterness. While they cooked, she simmered her home made tomato sauce in a pan. She added the cardoons to the tomato sauce and cooked them again just until they were heated through. Sprinkled with Pecorino cheese, they made a simple meal that reminded her of her homeland. It was worth watching her enjoy them just for that.

Ingredients

Juice of 4 lemons or equal amount of red wine vinegar
2 pounds young cardoons, washed
1 tablespoon of fine sea salt
Flour
2 cups canola oil for frying
3 cups prepared tomato sauce*
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Juice of 4 lemons or equal amount of red wine vinegar
2 pounds young cardoons, washed
1 tablespoon of fine sea salt
Flour
2 cups canola oil for frying
3 cups prepared tomato sauce*
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

Cut off one of the stalks near the base of the cardoon, just above the point where the stalk widens. Be careful of the prickers.

Use a knife to remove any small leaves at the top of the stalk.

Peel and remove the strings from the stalks. Cut the stalks into 2 inch long pieces and immediately place them in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add cardoons and boil them until tender; depending on how thick and how fresh the cardoons are, this can take from fifteen to thirty minutes.

Drain in a colander and quickly rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Dry on paper towels.

Mix the salt with the flour and coat the cardoons in it and fry them in oil until lightly browned. Transfer them to absorbent paper.

Heat the tomato sauce in a sauté pan, add the cardoons and cook gently in the sauce for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Serve hot.

*We like to use Tomato and Basil Sauce in this recipe. It is posted on the Recipes Page of our site. Or use the tomato sauce of your choice.

This recipe is featured on show 2018 – Eat Cardoons!

item recipe is featured in Episode 2018 of Season 20.

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