The ancient saying “a tempu di carduni, lu cuteddu servi a lu patruni” (when thistles grow, the master needs his knife for the harvest) means “don’t give away what you might need”…

Let’s speak about cardoons, a basic food of the Sicilian peasant tradition that still today complete many Sicilian Christmas dinners and the traditional Tables of San Giuseppe. Here is one of their tastiest recipes.

Ingredients: cardoons, lemon juice

Forr the batter: 1 egg, farina q.s., salt and pepper  q.s., 1 small onion, 1 anchovy

Clean the cardoons long stalks by removing their filaments and tougher external fibres, then cut them into 10 cm pieces, and put them quickly in a bowl with water and lemon juice to prevent them from blackening.

Boil them into a large pot with salted water and lemon juice, and cook until the cardoons are tender, then  place them over  a cloth to dry them.

Prepare the batter by placing into a bowl 1 egg, salt, pepper, onions and the chopped anchovies. Begin to whisk briskly while gradually adding flour and water so that the batter reaches a thick but not liquid consistency.

Heat a good quality olive oil in a  large pan and put the cardoons, previously dipped into the batter, a few at a time.

Fry the cardoons until golden and then place them on absorbent paper for a short period to allow excess  oil to drain.  Eat them while they’re still warm.
Enjoy your meal!