I first encountered this strange vegetable at my friend Kathleen’s grocery store, Culinarium, which carries only produce and products from our native Ontario. It was a feature in the weekly farmers’ box – and, like me, many of the customers who encountered this alien-like member of the Brassica family, didn’t know where it came from, what it tasted like and more importantly what to do with it. Thanks to Wikipedia, here is all you ever wanted to know about the weird and wonderful Romanesco plus our newest Daily Apple recipe!
Native to the province of Ontario, Romanesco (or Roman Cauliflower as it’s often called) is an edible flower of the species Brassica oleracea and a variant form of cauliflower. 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. It is also known as coral broccoli. It is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and carotenoids.
The vegetable resembles a cauliflower, but is of a light green color and the inflorescence (the bud) has an approximate self-similar character, with the branched meristems making a logarithmic spiral. The broccoli’s shape could be described as fractal; each bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in yet another logarithmic spiral.
Romanesco with Garlic & Parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil
1 head Romanesco – separated into perfect cactus-like florets!
2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
1/4 cup organic veggie stock
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & black pepper to taste
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add Romanesco until colour goes bright green. Add veggie stock and cover skillet to allow steam to cook unti crunchy-tender. Drain liquid and transfer vegetable to decorative serving platter. Cover with freshly grated cheese, coarse salt and pepper.
Looks like Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors!