Yes, it looks like it came from another planet, but it is edible and very delicious! I have been on a slightly obsessive search for Romanesco broccoli over the past month. Asking the produce people if they have it, when they are going to get it, scouring farmer’s markets and finally a few days ago, I just about jumped for joy in the middle of Monterey Market as I walked in and saw a huge bin overflowing with these glowing green vegetables. I know, it is probably a little strange that I get that excited over a vegetable….
Romanesco broccoli is a variation of cauliflower, not really sure why it is called broccoli. It has more flavor than cauliflower but is not as bitter and strong tasting as broccoli. The texture is actually one of the things I find most appealing about it. The florets are quite dense, giving a very nice bite and texture to them unlike any other vegetable. Romanesco broccoli is similar in nutritional value to broccoli and cauliflower; rich in vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids.
My favorite way so far to prepare it, is to roast it with olive oil and sliced garlic. Nice and browned and crisp on the outside and tender in the middle with a slightly sweet pleasant flavor. Any vegetable that receive an “MMMMMMM!” from both toddlers will become a regular in our house until it is out of season. I told Gabriella that these were princess trees that grow in Cinderella’s garden. She needs all of the convincing stories you can come up with to get her eat her vegetables, but she loved these. She even told me after dinner that she would like more of those trees tomorrow. If you are fortunate enough to track down Romanesco broccoli at a Farmer’s market or specialty market, try this method for cooking it. Also, try tossing it in pasta or serve it to kids with a cheese sauce for dipping and some baked chicken.
- 1 head Romanesco broccoli cut into florets (break bottom of and separate florets with hands)
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and pepper
- chili flakes, optional
- Preheat oven to 400. Toss broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 10 minutes and remove from the oven. Stir in garlic and roast until broccoli is nicely browned on parts and is desired doneness, about 5-10 minutes longer