Saturday, January 7, 2017

Butter-Braised Cardoons With Mushrooms and Bread Crumbs

Cardoons look menacing, kind of like fuzzy celery on steroids. But cardoons are actually closely related to artichokes. Whenever I find them, I buy as many as I can manage.

This time, I saw Farmer Jamie of Serendipity Farms post that she had cardoons for sale. Yes, please!! She put four long stalks in my bag. That would normally have been fine for my immediate family, but I was bringing the dish to a larger family gathering, so I augmented with the stems of some bok choy. If you are only serving 4 to 6 people, skip the bok choy altogether and cut the rest of the ingredients in half!

Ingredients serves 10 to 12

First you have to prep the cardoons by blanching...

  • 3 to 4 cardoons (approximately 3 C, once prepped)
  • 3 C bok choy stems, cut into 1-1/2" lengths
  • juice from 2 organic lemons
  • water

Braised Cardoons

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 C sliced mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms)
  • 3/4 C breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free panko breadcrumbs)
  • 1 T fresh thyme leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large pot with cold water and juice from 2 organic lemons.

Trim both ends of cardoon stalks and remove all leaves. Using a paring knife, shave the edges off each stalk; they have tiny barbs on them. Cut each stalk crosswise in 1-1/2” pieces and immediately place in the lemon water bath. Add the bok choy, if using.

Bring the lemon water, cardoons, and bok choy (if using) to a boil. Cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large flat-bottom pan that's wide enough to accommodate the cardoons and bok choy comfortably. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Let them soften, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the cardoons and bok choy. Stir to coat with butter and let cook until tender, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs have browned a bit and the cardoons are tender, approximately 5 minutes longer.

Just before serving, toss in fresh thyme leaves and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.

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