This is one of my favorite ways to eat kale! If you’ve never had kale, this is the place to start. Kale chips are absolutely delicious and super nutritious.
Growing and Cooking Cardoons
Plant cardoons in a well-drained, fertile, sunny spot. They will need about a 3 x 3 foot area. They grow into a lovely silvery-leaved bush about 4’ tall. Beautiful as a striking ornamental, the best part is that you get to eat them too! About 3-4 weeks before you harvest, tie up the leaves so the stems blanch. You can even cover the whole plant with a burlap bag. To harvest, cut off the stalks way down at the base. You only need to cut a few stalks at a time, so one plant will give you several meals over several weeks. To prepare them, wash well and be sure to remove all the leafy parts and stringy fibers. Cardoons lie somewhere in between celery and artichokes with a texture like that of celery and flavor like artichokes, without all the fuss. In Italy they are eaten as a crudite with bagna cauda (a rich, warm anchovy and garlic sauce) or in soups and stews. The following is my adaptation of a Spanish recipe from “the food of spain & portugal” by elisabeth luard, 2004.
Growing Greens for Tuscan Greens and Beans: Pan di Zucchero Chicory
Plant in rich soil with ample water…easy-to-grow ( just like lettuce). Spaced about 10-12 inches apart, this beautiful non-bitter chicory (“sugar loaf” in Italian) produces a light green, 1’ tall head similar to a romaine lettuce. Harvest the whole head, or if you can’t wait, use the leaves anytime before it heads and more leaves will grow back.
Use leaves fresh in salads or try it cooked…..