New To You Vegetable

Who wants a new vegetable?

Cardoon is a late fall thistle that pops up in the grocery store every year. Being a thistle, it’s in the artichoke family, which is the reason we eat and buy the scary looking thing. It has a mild bitterness absent in artichokes, but it’s never the overwhelming on the palate. More of an, “oh, yeah, I see what you’re, talking about.”

New Vegetable Preparation

New vegetables can be intimidating. For quick and easy artichoke flavor, you only need 20 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you are waiting for it to heat, prepare the Cardoon. Rinse off any dirt, then slice or peel away the thorns on the edges. Cut the trimmed stalks into 1/2″ slices and dump into the boiling water with a big pinch of salt. Boil for about 5 minutes or until tender. Strain and toss with good salted butter. They’re also great in a casserole or made into a soup or sauce. I like to cook them with water, salt butter and a little potato until soft. Then puree in a high powered blender like a Vitamix and season and garnish to taste.

Like artichokes, these need to be cooked to expunge their astringency. It’s a good idea to boil these separately before adding to a soup or casserole. If you’ve ever cooked stinging nettle, it has a similar property. The side thorns of the cardoon are harmless but trimming them gives a better texture as they tend to be attached with a fibrous string. Yay to interesting and easy new vegetables!