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FRIED CARDUNE

1 stalk Cardune                                        2 Fresh Lemons
3-4 Eggs Flour
1 lb Claro's Seasoned Bread Crumbs Salt & Pepper to Taste
Vegetable Oil for Frying

Cardune is the stalk of the artichoke plant.  It is only available around Easter time and Christmas.  Our Holiday table would not be complete without fried cardune.  This is how we prepare them.

Select a stalk of cardune that is not too soft or brown.  Look for a piece with ribs on the back that are not too pronounced (that leads to a tough piece even when parboiled).  Clean like you would celery, peeling any extra strings.  While you are cleaning, keep a large bowl of water with a little lemon juice in it and put cleaned cardune in as you clean them.  The lemon keeps them from turning black,(You should dip your hands often also or they will turn slightly blackish.)  Cut the cleaned cardune into 4-6 inch pieces and place into large pot of water with the juice of one lemon in it and turn on high heat.  When water comes to a boil, continue cooking until cardune pieces are tender, but not mushy.  The cooking time might vary from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.  Keep testing them to make sure they are tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Pat dry with paper towels and prepare your coatings.  Make one bowl with beaten eggs.  One bowl with sifted flour, and the last bowl with seasoned bread crumbs.  Dip cardune pieces in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, shaking off extra bread crumbs.  Continue until all of the pieces are coated.  In frypan, heat salad oil until it is hot and place cardune pieces in one at a time.  Fry until golden, then turn over and brown on both sides, place on paper towels to drain.  Salt and pepper to taste.  They are great to eat warm or cold.

Kitchen Hint: After parboiling cardune, you may freeze them in a plastic container.  Place cardune pieces in container, fill with water until covered and freeze.  When you are ready to use them later; simply thaw them overnight in refrigerator, pat dry and fry at will!

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