Ramp-ed up Wild Cardoons

April 24, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I am not sure where ramp rage originated...it has reached California and we don't even grow them here! I had some in Charleston a few weeks ago that were raw chopped on top of Shrimp and grits...I fell in love!! Last night at a newish restaurant in Yountville, I had them as an appetizer (sauteed in olive oil w/squeeze of lemon and sea salt). However...I am not all THAT impressed with them as a stand alone vegetable so I paired them with my favorite "forgotten vegetable" the cardoon which I originally planted for its looks and then fell in love with its artichoke like flavor. In fact they are grown commercially (they grow wild all over N. CA) in Castroville the ".artichoke capital of the world". And...they are in season there NOW. The ramps boost the flavor quotient significantly of the cardoons in this recipe. - dymnyno —dymnyno

Test Kitchen Notes

This fun recipe from dymnyno ramps up my old college favorite hot artichoke dip (being on the East coast, I used artichokes as a substitute for cardoons as suggested by dymnyno). The bechamel is creamy and sweet, the artichokes retain their flavor, and the ramps added a last minute kick, elevating this well beyond the standard. Highly recommended. - MrsWheelbarrow
—The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 5 pounds cardoons, (2 pounds trimmed)
  • 1 pound ramps
  • 3 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced and cooked very crispy
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated asiago
  • 3 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 cups bechamel but maybe less
  1. Trim the cardoons, Remove all the leaves. With a peeler, peel the stalk to remove all the strings. They will look like stalks of celery. As you finish trimming each stalk, put it in a bowl of water with lemon juice .
  2. Cut into 4 inch pieces and put into a large pot of boiling water.
  3. Lower the heat and cook the cardoons for 15 minutes.
  4. Grate the asiago.
  5. Chop the parsley very fine.
  6. Strain the cardoons. When cool arrange them in an oven proof casserole that has been buttered.
  7. Sprinkle the parsley on top the the cardoons.
  8. Arrange the crumbled pancetta on top of the parsley.
  9. Sprinkle the asiago on top of the pancetta.
  10. Pour bechamel over the entire surface. You may not need all two cups, just enough to cover but not too much so that the cardoons are swimming in sauce.
  11. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the entire surface.
  12. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.
  13. In a sautee pan with a little olive oil quickly sautee the ramps for about a minute to wilt.
  14. With a fork layer the ramps over the cardoons and sprinkle with sea salt.
  15. BECHAMEL: 4 tbs butter melted, add 4 tbs flour, slowly add 2 1/2 cups hot milk and stir until thickened and smooth. Add grind or two of nutmeg. Add 1 tsp salt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • luvcookbooks
  • KaffeeAndKuchen
  • boulangere
  • dymnyno
  • WinnieAb

9 Reviews

luvcookbooks November 26, 2012
dymnwyno, this was the greatest recipe, although it printed out a little differently and I didn't get to add the leeks (no ramps). big hit at the Thanksgiving table and my first time trying cardoons!! Thank you.
KaffeeAndKuchen May 9, 2011
I will have to try this one - I tried unsuccesfully to use cardoons last year, so I am determined to try it again this year.
dymnyno May 9, 2011
It is important to use cardoons that are young and not too tough(now is perfect in CA). Carefully peeling off the tough strings is important. Par boiling them makes them tender. all in all, they are a pain to prepare, but worth it!!
boulangere May 6, 2011
I haven't heard of cardoons in years. You've layered wonderful flavors here.
dymnyno April 27, 2010
If you plant cardoons this spring, they will be ready this fall. In CA they aren't ready until spring. Mine reseed themselves every year...I guess that's why they are considered and "invasive" plant in CA.
WinnieAb April 27, 2010
I am planting cardoons this year...this looks really great.
thirschfeld April 25, 2010
I am a huge fan of cardoons. This looks delicious
dymnyno April 24, 2010
Yes , the pancetta is added already cooked and crispy. Cardoons are really a forgotten veggie...I started growing them about 3 years ago because I thought they looked so pretty , but oh my...I love the flavor and so does my husband. The ramps are tasty too but not a local product. Lucky that we have a WF nearby.
mrslarkin April 24, 2010
I LOVE cardoons! My dad grew them (in NY!) last year, and we enjoyed them throughout the winter. The leaves are beautiful - so big and leathery. We usually just saute the cardoons in a pan with garlic, after boiling them, but this sounds sooo delicious! Q: are we cooking the pancetta before step 8?