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Italian Family Dining
by Edward & Eugenia Giobbi

Cardoons are harvested in northeast Italy during the winter. We like to eat fried cardoons with fish dishes.
Serves 4

• 3 cardoon ribs, strings removed, cut into lengths about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
• Juice of 2 lemons
• 4 cups water
• 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus additional for dredging
• 1/2 cup light beer or white wine
• 1 egg white, beaten
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• Salt
• Vegetable oil for frying
• 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary

In a medium bowl, cover the cardoons in cold water. Add the lemon juice and soak for 30 to 45 minutes. Drain the cardoons and place in a small pot with 4 cups water and 2 tablespoons of the flour. Gently boil the cardoons over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes. Drain.

In the meantime, combine the beer, the remaining 6 tablespoons of flour, the egg white, baking powder, and salt to taste. Refrigerate the batter for about 1 hour.

Fill a large nonstick skillet with about 1 inch of oil. Add the rosemary. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot. You can test the hotness by throwing a pinch of flour into the oil. If the flour pops, the oil is ready.

Dry the cardoons. Dredge them in flour, and then dunk them in the batter. Place the cardoons—a few at a time—in the hot oil and fry them until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Allow the oil to come back to heat before you add more cardoons.

Add  salt to taste and serve immediately.



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