Thyme-Infused Cardoon Gratin Recipe
The artichoke’s lesser-known cousin, the cardoon was considered a delicacy by the ancient Greeks. Its large stalks require extra effort to prep but impart a bitter, earthy, distinctly vegetal flavor that’s sure to win over artichoke-lovers.
What to buy: Cardoons are most commonly found at farmers’ markets. Look for stalks that are free from blemishes and don’t show signs of wilting.
Panko is coarse Japanese-style breadcrumbs. It’s available in the international section of most supermarkets.
This dish was featured as part of our Recipes for Fall Ingredients.
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 medium lemon
- 3 pounds cardoons
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups mushroom broth
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup panko
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Fill a large saucepan with heavily salted water, squeeze in the juice from the lemon half, and add the lemon.
- Trim the leaves and ends from the cardoon stalks, thoroughly wash them, and cut them in half. Place a stalk horizontally on a cutting board and peel off the stringy fibers using a vegetable peeler. Cut the stalk crosswise into 1-inch pieces and immediately add them to the saucepan. Repeat with the remaining stalks.
- Bring the cardoons to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook at a low boil until the cardoon pieces are fork tender, about 50 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, combine the cream, broth, thyme, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the mixture is reduced by a quarter (to about 1 1/2 cups), about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt.
- Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Fill a 2-quart baking dish with the drained cardoons. Remove and discard the garlic and thyme from the cream mixture and pour it over the cardoons.
- Place the Parmesan cheese, panko, and pepper in a medium bowl, mix until thoroughly combined, and sprinkle evenly over the cardoons. Bake until the cream mixture is bubbling, the cardoons are very easily pierced with a knife, and the topping is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.