Cardoon a Seasonal, Yet Tasty Vegetable Grown and Originating Along the Mediterranean

Cooking with Cardoon, also pronounced and spelled (cardoni), A relative of the artichoke family, is great when made into stew and pressure cooked. Cardoon is one of the most overlooked vegetables – Related to the artichoke family and is a great vegetable, or side salad dish on its own, when slow- cooked with stew meat and potatoes, in its own gravy, it can be steam cooked to perfection! Grown infrequently, though available in Florida, for at least two weeks in October, it is of Spanish or Italian origin, originally harvested in the Mediterranean. Now more commonly eaten as our World becomes more culturally diverse. When cooked, cardoon is slightly crunchy and nutty in flavor.

To prepare your cardoon for cooking, clean, and remove excess skin and leaves and chop stalk slices, the size of half a pencil, cardoons look a lot like hard, lightly green celery. Trim the spines, peel the fibers, they may also resemble a giant thistle, for proper cooking, make sure that they have cooked to high heat for at least 30 minutes, this can be done in your pressure cooker, after the meat has cooked to softened desire texture.

Upon cleaning, add cold water and add the zest of two lemons, careful not to add the juice, set aside to keep the cardoon from getting too brown, before adding to your slow cooked meat.For cooking stew meat it is best to cook slowly.

To acquire the consistency for a flavorful gravy or sauce, begin by lightly browning chunks of beef stew meat, goat, or any meat that does well when slow cooked.

Upon rendering a nice brown color, I use a small amount of olive oil, just to attain the browning effect, next I add one large purple onion, or Spanish onion, chopped cilantro only, chopped parsley- removing and discarding the stems from each. Add pieces of peeled raw ginger, next add 3 garlic cloves, reaching the garlic oil that is locked inside by using a cheese grader to get to the oil. Add all of the remaining skin into the pan, next, add pieces of celery, chopped stalks, including the herb at the end of the stalk, salt, pepper, cumin, be generous with your cumin- delicious when added to meats, fish and even chicken dishes.

Add sliced raw chili peppers, add more cooking oil, as needed, to avoid scorching your meat and vegetables saute all of these vegetable. Next add a few cups of vegetable stock, to overflow, add a food spice called Sazon, one package, if desired. For added color, use saffron, a pricey spice, though there are affordable, imitation saffron food products, they work well too! Cook in a pressure cooker, checking the cooker every 20 minutes making sure that the cardoon does not over cook, after 18 minutes, add fresh peeled potatoes, around 5 medium-sized, cut in large pieces, close the pressure cooker- careful not to over cook potatoes.

Upon your last check of your pressure cooker, remove your steam attachment and lid when all steam is released- serve with a nice side of sliced and peeled tomatoes mixed with small slices of red onion and olive oil, and vinegar, cilantro, only, remove and discard stems, chop and add cured black olives, if desired, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sliced warm baguette bread served table side.

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