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Thistles au gratin

Difficoltà: Beginner Tempo di preparazione 15 mins Tempo di cottura 30 mins Tempo totale 45 mins
Porzioni: 6


The cardoon is a true symbol of Piedmont winter cuisine; it is precisely in this region that the whitest, tenderest and tastiest humpbacked varieties are found, including that of Nizza Monferrato (the Nizza Gobbo Cardoon is a Slow Food Presidium)
Everyone knows the use of cardoons in bagna cauda (as they say, it is “their destiny”). This recipe includes a gratin with anchovy seasoning and it is of quick and easy preparation.
To accompany with a Barbera DOCG, ALBAROSSA or MONFERACE



  1. Clean the cardoon by peeling it, remove the stringy outer leaves, cut it into pieces 5 centimeters long and place it in warm water slightly acidulated with half a lemon.
    Put the cardoon in five liters of boiling water, boil for a few minutes and drain it.
    Melt 20 g of butter in a large pan and brown the cardoon, then stew it with the lid on for 15 minutes, drizzle it with half a glass of milk.
    Place in a small earthenware pan the remaining butter, the oil, the garlic cut into very thin slices and the anchovies, previously desalted in a little white wine.
    Prepare the bagna cauda with these ingredients by cooking it over a very low heat. When the bagna cauda is ready, add it to the cardoon, mix and continue cooking for a few minutes. Place the cardoon in a baking dish, leveling it and crushing it slightly, sprinkle it with parmesan and moisten it with the remaining milk.
    Gratinate in the oven at 200°C for about ten minutes until a golden crust appeares.
    Serve this dish as a hot appetizer. You can also crack some eggs directly onto the gratin cardoons by cooking them in the oven for a few more minutes; in this case, if available, a fair amount of properly cut truffles doesn't hurt. It is a caloric dish, suitable for a cold winter evening.