This recipe is a product of tinkering with the charts published in The Flavor Bible, which is an innovative way to develop a recipe using flavors and ingredients that have been proven to go well together. The cardoons are first boiled, then sliced into small pieces and mixed with onions sauteed with fresh thyme, pine nuts, a little dry sherry and honey.
It works well — so well it is one of those I-can’t-stop-eating-it dishes. Really, really tasty. Make sure to use fresh thyme, good honey and to cook the cardoons enough, as they can be overly fibrous if undercooked.
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 pound cardoons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- Salt and black pepper
- Trim the cardoons and boil them for 30-40 minutes in salty water with the juice of a lemon thrown in. (Here is a good overview of cleaning and prepping cardoons) This can be done up to a day ahead.
- Slice the cardoons into 1/2 inch pieces.
- Slice the onion into half-moons.
- Toast the pine nuts — watch them, as pine nuts go from toasted to burnt in a heartbeat.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions with some salt until just beginning to brown on the edges. Add in the cardoons and stir to combine. Let this cook for a minute or two.
- Add the dry sherry — it must be dry sherry, not sweet. (And yes I know you’re adding honey in a bit. Trust me.) If you don’t have dry sherry, use a dry white wine. Turn the heat up to high and boil it furiously.
- Add the honey and stir to combine. Add the pine nuts. Let this boil down to a glaze.
- Turn off the heat and toss in the thyme and add some fresh ground black pepper. Toss well to combine and serve at once.