Ramp-ed up Cardoons

April 24, 2010
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

  • Serves 4
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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.

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