Hand drawn image of Cardoon

Cardoon

Cynara cardunculus

One of Guy’s favourite veg – cardoons are seasonal, quirky, and hard to come by. A relative of globe artichokes, cardoons’ long leaf ribs taste like a cross between celery and artichoke hearts. They are sublime baked in a creamy gratin or fried as fritters.

Image of Cardoon being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

Will keep for about a week in the bottom of the fridge.

Prep & Cooking tips

Bitter and tough when raw, they need to be prepared and cooked before eating. Remove any leaves and thorny edges. Put into acidulated water (water with a squeeze of lemon) to stop them browning.

Chop into 2cm crescents for gratins and braising, or 6cm batons for fritters. Boil in plenty of acidulated, salted water for 15 mins to tenderise. Drain and refresh under cold water.

Easy ideas

1. Fritters

Prep the cardoons as above and cut them into 6cm batons. Boil in plenty of acidulated, salted water for 20 mins, or until tender. Drain and dust them in seasoned flour to coat. Dip into beaten egg, then roll in breadcrumbs. Deep fry in batches until golden. Serve immediately, perhaps with aioli for dipping.

2. Baked with potatoes

Prep the cardoons as above and cut into 2cm crescents. Cut 2 medium potatoes into 1cm batons. Butter a gratin dish and fill with the cardoons and potato, 100g grated parmesan (or cheddar), 2 chopped garlic cloves, 250ml double cream and 100ml whole milk. Top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and 50g parmesan. Bake at 180°C for about 40 mins until the potatoes are tender and the top has browned.

3. Braised

Prepare the cardoons as above and cut into 2cm crescents. Gently sweat 1 small onion and 1 garlic clove with a knob of butter and a dash of olive oil for a few mins. Add the cardoons along with a bay leaf, thyme sprig and a small glass of white wine or sherry. Season with salt and pepper. Let the booze reduce by half and add enough stock to cover the cardoons. Loosely cover and simmer for 20-30 mins or until tender.

Goes well with

Acidic flavours (Lemon juice, White wine, Vinegar)
Anchovies
Cured pork (Bacon, Chorizo, Prosciutto)
Dairy (Butter, Cheese, Cream)
Eggs
Garlic
Green summer veg (Broad beans, Green beans, Peas)
Herbs (Bay, Chervil, Chives, Mint, Parsley, Tarragon, Thyme)
Mushrooms and truffles
Shellfish (Crab, Prawns)

Cardoon recipes

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In the field

  • Meet the grower: Guy Singh-Watson, Riverford on Wash Farm, Devon.

    Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson started the business at Wash Farm in South Devon in 1987, and we’ve been growing organic veg at Wash ever since.

    Read more

Seasonality

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec

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