Cardoons with Marrow

This is the traditional French way of preparing cardoons, always eaten at Christmas time. I know you may find it difficult to get bone marrow, but this book is about obsessions and passions, and this recipe is here because I like cardoons with bone marrow. I would suggest that you go out and persevere until you find some. It is worth making the dish.


  • 1 lb cardoons
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus a bit extra for sprinkling
  • ¾ cup ( sticks) butter
  • cups stock
  • 2-3 oz beef marrow


Remove the leaves from the cardoons, and cut the white stalks into 4- to 5-inch pieces. Place in a bowl of cold water acidulated with the lemon juice.

Fill a saucepan with water, salt heavily, and bring to a boil. Stir the flour into a little cold water to blend, then add to the boiling water. Transfer the cardoons to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and freshen them in cold water, then remove the coarse exterior strings. Wipe the cardoons dry.

Heat the butter in an enamel pan and sauté the cardoons for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with a little flour and cook until they are golden. Add the stock gradually, stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook very gently until the cardoons have absorbed most of the sauce. Season, then transfer to a hot serving platter.

Melt the marrow in a double boiler, or bowl set over a pan of boiling water, and pour this over the cooked cardoons. Serve very hot.