Cardoons - Defined with Recipes

Cardoons—A vegetable resembling sea-kale, but the stalks are feathery. Plentifully grown in Canada; may be treated the same as sea-kale.

The Cardoon, Cynara Cardunculus, is a vegetable much prized abroad and much neglected in this country. Many gardeners find it too troublesome to grow, and many cooks do not know how to cook it.

The Spanish Cardoon, with its large solid ribs and spineless leaves, is the best variety, for the Tours Cardoon, so much grown in France, is covered with such long sharp spikes that its cultivation is really dangerous.

Cardoons are grown in trenches like celery, and are banked up about October, so as to blanch the stalks, which are the edible portion. The best way to cook Cardoons is to cut them into four- or five-inch lengths and throw them into boiling water into which a little lemon-juice has been squeezed.

Keep the Cardoons boiling till their outer woolly skin will rub off in a cloth. Drain them and throw them into cold water. When the Cardoons have cooled, scrape them, and pull off the stringy skin.

Fill a crockery stewpan with boiling water flavored with pepper and salt, lay a good-sized piece of raw bacon at the bottom, cutting the rind in strips, add a bunch of herbs, and then the Cardoons.

Simmer gently till the Cardoons are tender, which may take two hours or more, according to their age and size. Drain the Cardoons and warm them up in good brown sauce. Or they can be served with white sauce.

Wyvern recommends that Cardoons should be placed on slices of fat bacon at the bottom of a stewpan, with more bacon above them, and only just enough blanc to cover all.

Then add slices of lemon, a little mignonette pepper, and 6alt, cover the pan, and let the Cardoons simmer very gently till done. The blanc is a sort of stock which is used in boiling celery or any white vegetable to preserve the color.

To make blanc, cut up as small as possible a quarter of a pound of beef suet, and put it with a tablespoonful of flour into three and a half pints of cold water in a stewpan.

Boil up and add eight ounces of onion cut up small, a bunch of curly parsley, a tablespoonful of dried thyme or marjoram, the rind of a lemon, a teaspoonful of sugar and one of salt.

Stir well over a brisk fire for half an hour, strain, but do not take off the fat as the blanc cooks. When the Cardoons or other vegetables are cooked in 6Zanc, put in with them two or three slices of lemon freed from pips, to improve the color.

Cardoons with Marrow is a favorite French dish. For this get the butcher to break the bone so that you can get the marrow out in pieces the size of a walnut. Blanch the marrow for five minutes in boiling broth, drain the pieces on the top of a sieve and let them get cold.

When cold cut them in slices, and shortly before they are to be served heat them up gently in a little thick brown sauce in the bain-marie. Put a dessertspoonful of this into little hollo wed-out cases of fried bread, or fill with it little cases of pastry, baked in small patty-pans.

Lay the Cardoons on a hot dish, pour the brown sauce over them, arrange the marrow cases round them, and serve very hot. Or the marrow can be spread on toast and served in a long narrow dish with the Cardoons in the center. Cardoons are good fried in batter as beignets.

Cardoon Recipes

Baked Cardoons with Breadcrumbs

Blanch and boil a sufficient number of cardoons; place them on a dish well buttered and sprinkled with grated bread, cover them with breadcrumbs, pour over sufficient warm butter to moisten, and brown the surface either with a salamander or in the oven. When done, take out the cardoons, and serve. A little grated cheese may also be sprinkled over with the breadcrumbs.

Cardoons, Spanish Style

Secure some very white heads of cardoons, cut each leaf into slices six inches in length (except for the hollow ones which are tough and thready), and remove all the prickles.

Place the thickest leaves in a saucepan of boiling water, and boil them for a few minutes, then put in the leaves of the heart, turn the middle stalks into olive shapes, put them into the boiling water, and blanch them also; try a piece in cold water to see whether the slime which is on the surface will come off by rubbing; if so, take them off the fire immediately, refresh them in cold water, wash and rub this all off.

Prepare a sauce as follows: Cut about half a pound of fat bacon, and a small piece of beef suet into large squares; put these into a saucepan with two ounces of butter, half a lemon cut into thin slices, a small lump of salt, and as much water as may be necessary to cover the cardoons when they are added.

Stew this for half an hour, then throw in the cardoons and boil them up once, and leave in. When ready to use the cardoons, trim them at both ends, put them in a stewpan with one teacupful each of Spanish sauce and broth, and a small quantity of both sugar and salt; then boil over a sharp fire so as not to cook them too much, keeping the fat well skimmed off. When cooked arrange the cardoons on a hot dish, strain the sauce over them, and serve without delay.

Cardoons with Beef Marrow

Take some cardoons prepared as in cardoons for garnish, arrange them in a silver saucepan, and pour over a little Spanish sauce. Blanch some beef marrow by placing it in boiling water, take it out, drain, and spread on pieces of toast cut about a quarter of an inch thick, two inches long and an inch wide; sprinkle these over with salt, glaze, and put them in a hot oven for four or five minutes. Arrange the cardoons on a dish, place the pieces of toast on top, and serve.

Cardoons with Cheese

Take the outside leaves from five cardoons, string the white parts, and cut into small pieces; put in a saucepan with one pint of port wine, cook on a slow fire until tender. Season to taste and add one ounce of butter rolled in flour. Put the whole in a dish, squeeze over the juice of an orange, and sprinkle over four ounces of grated cheese. Brown the surface with a salamander, or in the oven. Serve as hot as possible.

Cardoons with Velouté Sauce

Cut the leaves of the cardoons into slices, except for the tough hollow ones, and remove all the prickles. Place the thickest leaves in a saucepan of boiling water; boil them for a few minutes, and then put in the leaves of the heart; trim the middle stocks into large olives, and after blanching them put them in also.

Rub a piece of the cardoons in cold water in order to determine whether the slime will come off easily, and if so, throw in the lot and rub them well. When quite clean, put the cardoons in white sauce, and boil them. Then remove the cardoons, put them in a stewpan with some stock broth, and boil them quickly.

When cooked, put them on a hot dish, drain them, pour over some hot velouté sauce, and serve. If preferred, French melted butter can be used in place of the sauce velouté.

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