Native Foods Cafe
Well did you ever see such a thing as a cardoon? It is actually in the artichoke family though has a stalk-like celery appearance... but quite huge in fact, about three times the size of a celery.
It has an October physiology as well with spike-like protrusions off the end of the stalks. The outer stalks are more solid and fang like… remove these tough outer fangs after trimming off the bottom, and any old cuts and/or leaves from the top.
The peeling of each stalk is essential to remove the fibrous ribs. I found the outer stalks to be much more firm and required more diligence to remove the fibrous ribs.
They need to cook and simmer about an hour before we do the deed with them, so get your pot of water ready and a whole lemon sliced in half (or I used 2 limes since my Key Lime tree was providing). Squeeze out the juice and drop the whole thing in. Drop in the cardoon as you cut each stalk into about 1 to 2 inch pieces. Bring it all to boil and let simmer about an hour.
Drain, rinse and cool in a casserole dish while you prepare the Béchamel sauce.
5 TBSP olive oil
5 TBSP flour
2 ½ cups soymilk or almond milk, warm
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch white pepper
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Then add flour and stir with heat lowered until flour is a golden brown. Whisk in milk a little at a time to keep smooth and let come to boil… then simmer while stirring for a couple of minutes until nice and thick… and you feel like you can’t wait to try it. Remove from heat and add salt, nutmeg and white pepper.
Pour all over those cardoons in casserole dish, top with some breadcrumbs and vegan parmesan and bake at 375 for about 30 min until top is a solid golden brown.
Very artichokey flavor. Tell me what you think!