Saturday 16 March 2013

Food in Madrid - goose barnacles and cardoons

One of my favourite things about Madrid -  along with the fun people; a "clandestino" night club I found myself in at 8am that Sunday; and a massage here - is the food. Spanish food is everything I love - simple, unpretentious and natural. There were a few things that I ate while in Madrid that I've never eaten before, namely "percebes" and "cardo"
 I believe that this is what's called a "goose barnacle" in English. These are fussy, little sea creatures that only live on rocks where the waves break - because of this they are not easy to obtain and quite expensive. We were lucky enough to try them at the Mercado San Anton, when the clams we ordered were "not very well"
"Cardo" translates into English as "thistle" or "cardoon" and it looks like a massive celery. However, unlike celery, here you only eat the heart. I don't know why this appeals so much to me, but it does. Unai cooked it for me at home, with some other vegetables and I enjoyed it so much that I would like to share the recipe with you - this dish hails from the Basque Country, same as Unai. You can use it with any vegetables you like, especially artichoke - cardoon's relative. Cook the cardoon in water for about 15min. Fry the garlic and onion in oil until they are translucent, then add flour. Mix this while frying until it all turns brown. Now add a bit of water from the cardoon - about a ladle-full - and keep stirring and frying for another 8-10mins. Add the cardoon to the sauce, along with any other vegetables that take your fancy and the boiled eggs. Season and serve like this

Cardoons/other vegetables
1 tablespoon flour
Eggs, hard-boiled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

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