Fried battered cardoons (I carduna ca pastetta)


Presenting the thistle, the Sicilian peasant’s traditional poor fare that still enriches the traditional Christmas dinner and the Tavolate di San Giuseppe today with its tastiest recipes.

The ancient saying “a tempo di carduni, lu cuteddu servi a lu patruni” (when it’s time to collect the thistles, the master keeps the knife for himself) means that we mustn’t deprive ourselves of what we need when we need it most.

So, here it is in its tastiest recipe!


Skin the thistles, removing the strands and its leafy top, then cut them into 10 cm long pieces, taking care to put them in a bowl with water and lemon juice so they don’t go black. Boil them, adding the squeezed lemon and salt to the desired consistency in the water, then place them on a cloth to dry.

Prepare the batter by placing an egg, salt, pepper, onions and finely chopped anchovies into a bowl, then beat everything together, gradually incorporating the flour and the water so that the batter is thick without being runny. In a suitable frying pan heat some good quality olive oil and dip the thistles that you’ve previously dipped in the batter.

Brown the thistles evenly and then drain them on a sheet of absorbent paper.

We recommend eating them while they’re still hot. Enjoy your meal!

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Duration of preparation


  • Thistles

  • Lemon: 1


  • Egg: 1

  • Flour: as needed

  • Salt and pepper: as needed

  • Onion: 1

  • Anchovy: 1