Take a Fresh Look at a Clever Little Vegetable

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Ferry Plaza cookbook

'The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook' takes advantage of in-season ingredients to make fresh meals. hide caption

toggle caption

Cross an artichoke with celery, and you come close to getting a cardoon. For our food moment this week, food writer Peggy Knickerbocker tells us about cardoons, a wonderfully weird vegetable with mediterranean "roots."

Knickerbocker joined Christopher Hirsheimer in writing The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook.

Cardoon Gratin


Cardoons are for sale at the Farmer's Market in San Francisco. hide caption

toggle caption

The following recipe can be found in 'From the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook,' by Peggy Knickerbocker and Christopher Hirsheimer.

Here's an easy, delicious way to cook cardoons in the French style with luscious cream and rich cheese. You do not need to soak the cardoons in lemon water to prevent browning, as they go directly into the cream mixture. You can assemble the dish fully up to a couple of hours in advance and then put it in the oven about a half hour before dinner.

Serves 4 to 6


3 cups heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds cardoons

Butter for preparing gratin dish

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese


In a large saucepan, combine the cream, stock, and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.

Trim the cardoons and cut into 2-inch pieces, placing the pieces immediately into the cream mixture as you go to prevent them from discoloring.

When all of the cardoons are in the pan, place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cardoons are tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, butter a 4-cup gratin dish.

When the cardoons are tender, using a slotted spoon remove the m from the cream mixture and transfer them to the prepared dish, mounding them up slightly if necessary to make them fit. Reduce the cream mixture to about 3/4 cup over medium heat, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and pour the reduced sauce over the cardoons. Sprinkle the Gruyere on top.

About 15 minutes before you are ready to bake the gratin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Bake until the top is golden and the gratin is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove form the oven, let cook for about 5 minutes, and serve directly from the dish.

Books Featured In This Story

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook

A Comprehensive Guide to Impeccable Produce Plus Seasonal Recipes

by Christopher Hirsheimer and Peggy Knickerbocker

Paperback, 299 pages |


Purchase Featured Book

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market Cookbook
A Comprehensive Guide to Impeccable Produce Plus Seasonal Recipes
Christopher Hirsheimer and Peggy Knickerbocker

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from