Cardoons in White Almond Sauce - Cardo con Salsa de Almendra
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Almonds always make a good accompaniment for vegetables, either chopped or in a sauce. The following is a very common way of preparing cardoons in Navarre and in La Rioja and often forms part of the main Christmas menu in Spain. Cardoons are a stalky vegetable with a flavor between artichoke and celery. They are sometimes available in West Coast farmers markets -- the rest of us can make do by substituting artichoke hearts.
Makes 4 servings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
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2 large bottles of preserved cardoons (approx. 2 - 1/4 lb)
Drain the cardoons, reserving the liquid. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan, brown the garlic and the sliced leek, then remove. Crush both together with 3 oz almonds and some of the reserved liquid (1 1/4 cup). Beat well. Pour the sauce into the frying pan and heat gradually, stirring occasionally until it boils. Add a pinch of ground white pepper. Add the cardoons and the rest of the almonds after first crushing them in a mortar. Leave to cook over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more of the reserved liquid if necessary, depending on the thickness desired for the sauce.
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