Cardo gobbo di Nizza
With the cold of winter, fields are veiled with frost, farmers go to free the ground traced from furrows, the thistles, whites and curved under the weight of clods. A plant precious, not only for its taste, but also for medicinal virtues described even by Caterina Sforza.Arrives on our plates in 1500, but its origins are much older: it is the thistle, a plant that resembles celery in appearance and flavor, but which, in reality, belongs to the same family of artichokes. From Ethiopia and Egypt, where the first traces of its existence are found, the thistle was then spread to Europe; buds and seeds were in ancient times used to produce the rennet of cheeses, but already in 1700 a Piedmontese cookbook shows the best-known of recipes based on thistles, the “bagna cauda”.

The hunchback thistle of Nizza Monferrato owes its name to the form in which it presents itself, due to the particular treatment which the vegetable is subjected during its growth. The sowing takes place in late spring, around May;, during the summer the seedlings are thinned out, and in the late autumn are then bent to one side, lying down and progressively covered with earth, so that the absence of light makes the stalks candid and sweets. The burial must take place at least 20 days before harvest: This operation requires that plants are tied to clump and gently lay in a furrow dug beside the rows and 10-15 cm deep, without damage the roots. The more autumn advances and temperatures decrease, more increase the number of days that the thistle passes underground, and the thickness of the layer that covers the plant. At the time of collection, done by hand, the thistle has the typical hump and a white color, due to the loss of chlorophyll, less fibrous, the coasts are crispy and sweet, exellent to be consumed raw. The only trick to fully enjoy the fragrance and the fleshiness of the raw thistle - for example in oil dip - is to carefully remove the filaments and then immerse the shank in water made slightly acid with lemon to prevent that darken.

Cardo gobbo di Nizza

Nizza monferrato

Cardo gobbo di Nizza Monferrato

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