As promised, here it is the perfect match for last week capon braised in tomato: cardoons, or, as we call them in my area, gobbi. Now you can find them quite easily in whatsoever supermarket – even in my town supermarket, not the best furnished shop in the world! – but in the past farmers made them working directly on an artichoke plant, taking away new sprouts. New artichoke sprouts could be cooked, if tender, in an omelette or a flan.
At the end of summer, the sprouts left on the plant were wrapped in a thick yellow paper and tied up, let grow in the dark, so that they remained white. Winter time is the perfect season to eat cardoons!
In the past weekend I browsed throught the old Pellegrino Artusi book with my grandmother, searching for the recipe they used to make when she was a child. We couldn’t find the recipe of three time cooked cardoons (first, you boil them, second you fry them, third you braise them in capon tomato sauce… give them a try!), but we found many interesting recipes. They all have in common one point: Pellegrino Artusi explains that cardoons are light, easy to digest, refreshing but… tasteless (it’s not true! they remind artichoke flavour!) so you must use lot of sauce and seasoning.
… as we are Tuscan people, we are skilled in sauce and seasoning! So, let’s see Aunt Pasquina recipe for cardoons.
- cardoons, 1 bunch
- garlic, 1 clove
- parsley, 1 small bunch
- flour to dust
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
Rinse cardoons, remove external filaments and cut off hard parts. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and cook cardoons for about 20 minutes. When they get soft, drain them well, pass them under cold running water – to avoid them turning green – and pat them dry with cooking paper. Dust them with flour and set them aside.
Chop finely garlic and parsley and pour a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan: saute them for a few minutes and add cardoons. Brown them on each side, season them with salt and pepper and after 5 minutes add 100 ml of milk. Let it reduce.
Beat eggs (I used 2 eggs, it all depends on how many people you want to serve and on the purpose you are making this dish for: main course or side dish) with salt and pepper and pour them over cardoons: stir roughly to thicken eggs and cardoons are ready!