Monday, 15 February 2016

Sicilian Sweet 'n' Sour!

Cardi & Peperone in Agrodolce
Sweet & Sour Cardoons & Peppers

You didn't really expect me to be able to walk past a bunch of cardoons without buying them, this Saturday without me buying them, did you? Hey! I may have been born in England- but I am 100% Sicilian when it comes to food!

So let me share with you my new favorite way to prepare them! Easy, delicious, healthy and a perfect addition to any antipasti spread! You might just love them! wink emoticon

In case you are not familiar with them, cardoons are relatives of artichokes... which you all know, right? They are both members of the thistle family- the difference being, the artichokes produce those big, beautiful blossoms- and cardoons don't!

But- on the positive side, once those stalks are peeled and boiled... you get to eat the whole lot- not just nibble on the leaves like you do with artichokes- so yeah! I love these things!

The ingredients were very simple to prepare this dish- 1 bunch of cardoons, 1 red pointed pepper, a little fresh rosemary, parsley and thyme, salt, pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar or malt and a teaspoon of honey.

I guess my favorite way to eat cardoons is STILL fried in an egg and flour batter by my mamma- but she is miles away in Sicily! Boo-hoo!

Actually, the other way they are enjoyed in Italy, is doused with vinegar, with maybe a sprinkle or oregano- which is also delicious... but of course I can do better than that!

Step one is to peel the cardoons of the tough, fibrous, outer-layer of skin, much in the same way as you would celery, except you need to go that little bit deeper with the cardoons, otherwise those fibers really are inedible.

Cut them into bite-sized chunks- I split my stalks in half lengthways before doing so and then boil them in salted water for a good 45 minutes at least, until tender. 

Yes, they ARE a pain to peel, they do take a long time to cook- but they ARE worth the effort!

Whilst the cardoons drain and cool off, fry the diced red pepper together with plenty of rosemary and thyme in olive oil, until it becomes lovely and aromatic with the flavor of the herbs, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the cardoons and plenty of pepper and stir-fry together with the peppers for a further 3-4 minutes until they begin to turn golden.

Deglaze with a good splash of strong vinegar and stir until well coated- stand back as that steam will clear your sinuses if you're not careful- hehe!

Enjoy as any other antipasti, maybe with a little bread, along with olives, cheese or cold cuts and get that wonderful Italian dinner off to a fine start!

There are probably so many vegetables out there that you are not enjoying... and should be! So get out there, find some- and do it!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, this would be a super contribution to Food on Friday: Mediterranean Food over at Carole's Chatter. Please do bring it over. Cheers