Garlic Romanesco Broccoli

 

Brassica Romanesco Broccoli

Brassica Romanesco Broccoli

 

For years I walked past displays of that curly-green cauliflowery-type vegetable at the farmers’ markets thinking, what’s that about?  Sure looks pretty, but since I’ve never been a huge fan of cauliflower, I never had any interest in trying Romanesco.  Not until I had some at a vegan restaurant a few weeks ago.  Since then it’s been on my shopping list every week. 

 

Romanesco broccoli, the edible flower of the species brassica oleracea, is actually a form of cauliflower, and is often called broccoflower or coral broccoli.  It is high in vitamin C, fiber, and carotenoids, and has a very unique spiral design that is logarithmic and self-similar (notice how each little tiny spiral bud resembles the shape of the larger piece).  Being a math geek myself, I am fascinated by nature’s design of this beautiful work of art that replicates itself in such a perfect spiral form.  Texture-wise, it resembles cauliflower but the flavor is a bit more like broccoli.   The secret, though, is in how it is prepared.

 

1 head romanesco broccoli

2 T extra virgin olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic

pinch of cayenne pepper

sea salt

 

This is a very simple recipe, yet very flavorful and will hopefully please any family members who don’t want to eat their vegetables (and I’m sure kids will be fascinated by the shape!).  Wash and cut the romanesco into smaller pieces (it usually easily breaks apart if you remove the stem).  Heat olive oil in a skillet.  Press 2-3 cloves garlic and saute in olive oil for a few seconds, then add the romanesco.  Toss for 4-5 minutes over low heat, adding a tablespoon or two of water as necessary, until the florets are just slightly tender.  Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and sea salt, toss, and serve.

 

Romanesco

Garlic Romanesco, shown with red snapper en papillote on a bed of millet

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