With thistles there are some necessary precautions: the fibrous part must be removed very carefully (as is done with celery), because they become very bitter when cooking; they must also be acidulated immediately, for this reason, when you are removing them, pass half a lemon on top, rubbing them well, because it is a very sensitive plant, it oxidizes immediately, becomes black and bitter. At this point we cut them into pieces of 4-5 cm and dip them in water and lemon. After about ten minutes of acidulation, when the pieces have turned white and have softened a little, we cook them for five minutes in boiling salted water. Let’s prepare the base of the baking dish, which we will then bake, with a whirl of oil, a handful of grated parmesan cheese and a grind of black pepper. In this concoction we cram the drained thistles: it’s very simple, just have some pliers or tools to not burn your hands. Let’s make a first layer, sprinkling with grated Parmesan, pepper and parmesan flakes. At the end we flavour with a little cream (I don’t like the beschamel, but you do whatever you want) and off with another layer of thistles. We make them cute, like soldiers, next to each other. Again a little parmesan, a little pepper,
A round of cream, and since they’re called gratin thistles, we cover it with a nice sprinkle of breadcrumbs. A little salt and we are ready to bake: I have the economical kitchen, but in electric ovens bake at 180° for half an hour. When the thistles are golden and soft we take them out: it is a very light dish, very good (and very hot!).