Beefed up celery


Illustration by Maria Ratinova

If you see something that looks like overgrown celery at the market, it could be a cardoon. This vaguely Scottish-sounding vegetable is actually related to thistles, and common to the Mediterranean. Because we have a similar climate, cardoons have gone native and grow like weeds. If you’re brave enough to tackle them, beware the spiky bits along the stems and leaves. They need peeling and soaking in lemon water to prevent browning. Then cut across the fibers to get edible pieces. If you’re still hungry after that, braise, saute or broil the slices until tender.