Much like its Thistle-family relative, the Artichoke, the Cardoon is a high-prep, high-reward culinary delight. And with the warm weather coming and the plants about to bolt, you might not have much more time to enjoy these springtime delights!
To prepare Cardoons, use a vegetable peeler to take off any leaves, thorns or stringy fibers. Chop the stalks down into manageable pieces a few inches long, and then soak them in a bowl of salt water or vinegar water for at least 30 minutes (up to overnight) to reduce the bitterness.
Boil for 20-25 minutes, or until tender to a fork, in water with a bit of salt. Use the final product in gratins, mashes, or battered and deep fried.