Burdock Flower Stems in Spicy Butter with Parmesan

While snacking on the tender, juicy, succulent flower stems of Burdock, I wondered, “What other vegetable does this taste a lot like?”. I didn’t really have an answer. Later on, I was doing some research on the harvest and came across a line that mentioned how in parts of Italy, families call this harvest “gardooni”. There’s a very popular vegetable in Italian cuisine called Cardoon—a close relative of the Artichoke—and a close relative of burdock. That’s when it hit me… prepare burdock flower stem like Cardoon! So here it is…
Burdock stems are at their best in very early summer, a week or two before the flowers begin to mature. When they’re ready, the flower stem will be soft and pliable, and will snap off cleanly. You peel off the bitter skin to unveil the delicious inner flesh that is sweet, earthy, and juicy.

Burdock Flower Stems in Spicy Butter with Parmesan

What You Need:

About 10 peeled burdock flower stems
2 tbsp butter
a pinch of chili flakes
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or any hard cheese)
A pinch of chopped parsley
Pinch sea salt
Pinch black pepper

  • Heat a pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt.
  • In the meantime, chop the burdock flower stems at an angle.
  • Crush the garlic and remove the skin.
  • Heat the butter in a small pan. Once melted, add in the chili flakes and smashed garlic.
  • When the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the chopped flower stems and boil for roughly 2 minutes. Check for tenderness ever 30 seconds.
  • At the same time, stir the garlic around in the pan. Remove it from the pan after 5 minutes of infusing the butter. Set aside for another dish or compost it.
  • When the flower stems are perfectly tender, remove them from the water and add them to the pan of butter. Toss in the grated parmesan and stir to heat the whole mixture through.
  • Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
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