Recipe by French Tart
Thanks to Chef #37636 and Chef #47892 for giving me the zany recipe title ideas! Yes, this beautiful vegetable does indeed look like a wedding bouquet, or maybe even a collection of small Christmas trees.........it is the most beautiful looking vegetable in the world, in my humble opinion! However, never mind its looks - it tastes wonderful, having a nutty and buttery taste and holds its shape better than cauliflower or broccoli when cooked. A little more information on this gorgeous vegetable: Romanesco is an unusual crop. Not quite a calabrese and not quite a cauliflower but with aspects of both. It has a taste and texture exceeding the finest broccoli and is a member of the Brassica family. Romanesco broccoli was first documented in Italy (as broccolo romanesco) in the sixteenth century. It is sometimes called broccoflower, but that name is also applied to green-curded cauliflower cultivars. Romanesco is best steamed rather than boiled as it will retain its flavour and texture better. Small spears can also be stir-fried or even eaten raw in salads or with a dip as crudities. This recipe is simple and keeps the full flavour of the romanseco; use any Italian cheese you have to hand - I used Parmesan cheese in the photos I posted, a few toasted hazelnuts may also be a fine finishing touch. One more piece of useless information (!!), the fractal spiral of this vegetable is an example of the golden ratio, which is linked mathematically to all kinds of interesting things, such as the proportions of human faces - I told you it was an amazing vegetable!
Top Review by COOKGIRl
I share French Tart's love, admiration and fawning overtures to Romanesco. It is the most beautiful vegetable in the world by far! There is an invisible force that stops me from chopping the head up into florets. I steam the romanesco whole for about 10 minutes because the head was small. In a small saucepan olive oil and butter were heated up just enough to warm the oil and melt the butter. Scattered the vegetable with toasted organically grown Oregon-grown hazelnuts, light grating of asiago, sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper. When you are this beautiful au naturel or the very most a light dusting of a powder puff is best. Amazing! Takes my breath away!
- 1 head romanesco (about 900g or 2 lbs in weight)
- 2 -3 tablespoons italian hard cheese, grated
- parmesan cheese or romano cheese
- 1 ounce butter
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
- toasted hazelnuts (optional)
Directions See How It's Made
- Cut off the main stalk and trim the base of any excess leaves, Divide the romanesco into florets, trying to maintain good-sized pieces - about the size of an egg.
- Steam or boil the romanesco gently for about 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the size and weight; check after 8 minutes - the vegetable stalk should be soft enough to pierce a skewer in to it - but the pretty heads should still be whole and firm, as well as retaining their beautiful pale green colour. If the romanesco is still too hard, continue to boil or steam, checking it every 2 minutes or so.
- Add the butter and the oil top the pan and very gently toss the vegetable florets so they are all coated in the butter and oil. (If using a steamer, put the florets into a pan to do this.).
- Arrange the florets in an attractive serving bowl or platter - sprinkle over the grated cheese and top with toasted hazelnuts if you decide to use them.
- Serve with crusty bread for a light and elegant luncheon dish. Alternatively, serve as the main vegetable accompaniment to most main course meals.
- Serves 4 as a light lunch with bread, and 6 as a vegetable accompaniment.