In a previous post, I wrote how cardone is part of our Christmas feast. The first course on Christmas Day was, and still is, a traditional chicken soup (brodo di gallina) with little meatballs, cardoons (cardone) and egg dumplings. My relatives in Australia tell me that their parents insisted on having brodo on Christmas day even though it was 90 degrees in the shade. Be! Tradizione e' tradizione. (Well! Tradition is tradition.)
Cardone is cousin to the artichoke and considered a delicacy by the Italians. It's so unique and flavorful that it makes a great side dish any day of the week.
A cardone side dish I love is:
Cardone Cace e Ove (Cardoons with cheese and eggs)
|Cardone Cace e Ove|
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2 lb. of cardone
1 cup of diced tomatoes (or canned)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium eggs
1/2 cup of grated pecorino cheese
Rinse the stalks well. Trim the ends and remove strings from the big stalks, just as you would with celery. Discard any discolored, outer stalks. Remove any of the small leaves that run up the center of the stalks. Slice crosswise into 1- to 2-inch lengths.
Because cardone can have a slightly bitter aftertaste, it is recommended you soak it in salted water and the juice of one lemon for an hour or so before cooking.
After trimmed and soaked, boil cardone for 30 minutes or until tender.
In a pan, add the olive oil and garlic. Cook garlic briefly, and add the tomatoes. Simmer gently for 15 minutes and add boiled cardone. Continue to simmer gently for 2o to 30 minutes.
Beat the eggs and cheese. Add the egg mixture to the cardone. Do not mix. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes until the cheese mixture resembles dumplings. Uncover, break the egg mixture gently with a fork.
Let it rest for a few minutes and serve.