Cardoon a.k.a cardune
Because cardoon was an effort to prepare, my mom usually made this dish on special occasions ... and every Christmas. We definitely grew up eating and appreciating this vegetable.
You have to wear gloves when you peel the cardoon otherwise your fingers will turn black. The stalks must be peeled thoroughly of all the stringy bits.
With all the labor involved in the prep, we find it best to prepare them in a simple way.
Cut each stalk into a few pieces and boil gently until just tender.
Once cooked, dip them in beaten eggs and seasoned breadcrumb, and fry in oil until crisp.
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle sea salt and pepper over the hot cardoon. While you're frying the remaining cardoons, you can keep them on a foil lined tray in a warm oven so they stay crisp.
Be prepared to smack hands away from your hard work!
I was shown this technique by my godmother and have tried it a few times .Interestingly , some good friends of ours had a very expensive landscape architect redesign and plant their garden to more water saving plants and cardoon was one of the plants used .They were amused when I said I'd cook them a meal from their new garden !
hey huxter09: thanks for the reply...these cardoons are so tasty, aren't they? be careful, your friends will ask you to make these for them all the time!
by Lisa J.
No one knows about cardunes, but my Italian family always ate these with a flourish! It was a happy day to arrive at my grandmother's and see a big plate of battered cardunes waiting for us. My own mother would pick them while we were at school and surprise us for dinner. There's nothing better!
Sometimes I'm sad that cardunes have not made it to the "mainstream" but I feel like this is the best kept secret of Italian cuisine!