Cardoon gratin

I was very excited when I saw this Jurassic celery stalk at the store a few weeks ago.

It was my initiation with cardoons, a vegetable that looks like a giant celery stalk, but tastes like artichokes.

Now be careful with these, as they do have thorns, and they can be vicious. To clean them, take a peeling knife, remove the leaves and the thorns and discard them. With a vegetable peeler, remove the strings as you would those of celery.

Cut the cardoons in 5-7.5 cm lengths, then in little batons, and place them in a bowl filled with cold water and lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Some people cook them in acidulated, salted water, to which some flour was whisked in to prevent further discolouration during cooking, as you would with artichokes. You can do this if you wish. Discard all the leaves.

Cardoons can be prepared in several ways, added to soups and stews, cooked in tomato sauce, with sausage ragù or meat broth. They can be braised or roasted, and they are simply wonderful. I will cook with these again, for sure.

You can find them in Ottawa, at the Produce Depot, on Carling Avenue. I have also seen some at various Farm Boy locations.


Cardi gratinati

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1/2 head cardoon
the juice of 1 lemon (to prevent discolouration)
1/2 glass whole milk
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
Gruyère, grated
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 350F.

  1. Boil the clean cardoons in acidulated, salted water for 40 minutes, until tender.
  2. Butter a dish just big enough to put the cardoons in one layer, add the milk, then the cardoons. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle a bit of cream all over, then the parmesan and the Gruyère.
  3. Cook uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes, or until brown on top.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with a grilled meat.


4 replies »

  1. Oh I love cardoons! I once bought a huge bunch; it ended up in creamy soup, minestrone (with other vegetables), and gratin. They look a bit scary and are a pain to prepare, but I love their delicate flavor. Your gratin looks quite delicious.


  2. Cardoons, “gobbi” in our home, was a frequent visitor at our table when I was a boy. Your recipe sounds like a very tasty way to prepare them.


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