The leaf stalks of the Cardoon plant have an artichoke-like flavor. They are in the thistle family, like sunchokes, sunflowers and artichokes. They need to be cooked before being eaten, or they are very bitter. To cook cardoons, take off any leaves with a peeler, as these tend to be too fibrous. In order to prevent discoloration, place them in acidulated water, They can then be braised or boiled into a stew. In New Orleans, they're frequently battered and deep fried. Larger stalks can sometimes take up to an hour to soften, but the wait is well worth your while when you can add that artichoke-y sweetness to any dish.