Sunday, January 17, 2010

Celery on Steroids

Have you ever wandered through the farmers' market, seen something resembling celery on steroids, and wondered: what the heck is that?!? Cardoons, or cardi, as the Italians call it. They are actually close cousins of artichokes and a classic Italian winter vegetable.

I've only seen them cooked two ways, this is my favorite - Cardi Nella Beciamela (Cardoons in Bechamel Sauce)...
Clean and prep the cardi by stripping the ribs, cutting them into inch-long piece, and boiling them in salted water until half cooked. Make a bechamel (cream) sauce and stir the cardi into it. Turn the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with grated parmigiano. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cardi fork-tender.

I usually serve this - when I can find it at the markets - with a roast of some kind. Squisito...pronto al tavolo!

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