GUYS. Cardoon is weird.
It looks like a leafy vegetable but you don't eat the leaves. The stalk, much like celery, is stringy and fibrous. You strip the leaves, peel the strings (more compassionate but less fun than string cheese), wash the stalk, chop it into bite-size pieces and preserve it in lemon juice (well, unless you are going to use it right away.) After all that work, you cook the cardoon stalk until it is tender and then guess what?? It tastes terrible.
My sister lives in Spain and sent me two recipes. It is called cardo over there and translates as thistle. Apparently it's easy to find canned.
I combined both recipes, browning the marcona almonds in a pan and setting them aside and then cooking the cardoon in oil and water with garlic. To make it more of a meal, I tossed in some cooked rice and threw some raisins on top, a typical Spanish addition to cooked greens.
Looks fancy, no? TOO BAD IT SUCKED. Maybe I didn't cook the stalk long enough - some sites say it is boiled for as long as two hours - or maybe it had already started to go bad - you can see some discoloring on the stalks - or maybe I just don't like it. Cardoon is very bitter, which I am usually okay with, flavor-wise. Something about it was just off-putting. Was it the lemon I rubbed on the stalks? Is there just something deeply wrong with me? Don't answer that.
Anyway, I tried. I hate to waste food, though. Does anyone have an idea of what I can add to it? I guess just more raisins. And almonds.
Sorry, cardoon. NEXT.