I Cooked A Cardoon (And I liked It!)

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I had a new vegetable in my veg box this week! New to me, anyway. You may already be familiar with the Cardoon, relative of the globe artichoke.

The Cardoon

Not much to look at, at least not without it’s large Thistly leaves (very like the artichoke leaf). When it arrived in my weekly Riverford* delivery, I almost mistook it for celery! 

Prepared Cardoon Vegetable

What Does One Doo With A Cardoon?

Cardoons require some effort to prepare, it seems. Luckily most of it had already been done for me, and it came with instructions as well as a few recipe suggestions.

Although I was tempted by the Gratin, I decided to keep it simple for my first taste. 

Cardoon preparation
Oven Ready

Following the instructions, I chopped it into pieces dropping them straight into a pan of cold water with a squeeze of lemon juice (to prevent discolouring).

Uncertain of whether to include the leafy heart, I didn’t want to risk missing out on what could be the best part. 

Dropping the pieces into a pan of acidulated boiling water, (I used lemon juice again but vinegar would work too) I cooked them for 10-15 minutes.

"I hope it tastes better than it smells!"

These were the words of my seven year old daughter, although I must admit I was thinking the same as I drained the Cardoons.
There was rather an unpleasant aroma emanating from the steaming vegetables.

I seasoned them with salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil and put them in the oven to keep the jackets company! 

Chopped Leaves and Flowers of the three cornered leek
Spring Greens

Meanwhile, I prepared the Spring Greens (also from my veg box) and the Three Cornered Leeks (From my garden’s plentiful supply), to go with the Cardoons and Jacket Potatoes.

The leek stems and flowers were gently heated with some organic baked beans and the Spring Greens boiled in salted water.

The Verdict:

Plate of food

Admittedly, I was dubious, especially after the smell, and even on my first bite which I had to chew for slightly longer than I had intended…

Thankfully it was just an unusually tough piece (probably down to my lax peeling) and things improved rapidly. I lost myself in a heady daze of chomping and oohming for a while!

Mini Foraging Foodie was less impressed, taking only a reluctant nibble before declaring triumphantly “I don’t like it!” 

I don’t have much to offer that hasn’t been said before, it’s certainly reminiscent of certain other vegetable delicacies; Buttery, like the Globe Artichoke and pleasantly fibrous like Asparagus.

Delectably addictive once you start eating. 

I’m now wondering about about trying some wild thistle stems.


Bitter Heart:

The heart had an exquisite texture, although the taste was bitter, so bitter in fact that I began to wonder if I was supposed to be eating it at all… 

But I didn’t stop. 

I’m developing a taste for bitter foods and a squeeze of lemon juice offset it nicely

Doo You Like Cardoons Too?

What about you? Have you tried Cardoon yet? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments below and if you’d like to find our more about Riverford and their veg box delivery click here* to go to their website.

Thanks For Reading!

Happy Foraging Foodies!

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