09 February 2011

Strange Fruit

Every once in a while, I come across some kind of fruit or vegetable that I either have never seen, never eaten, or never dared to prepare. But seeing as how I am intrinsically curious and always up for a challenge, I like to give it a try. I am actually quite a bit more daring than my husband, but when I was struck with fascination at the container of bovine nerves, he quickly put the kibosh on it. At least I have gotten him to like vegetables enough to conquer the plant world. So what would you guess this is? (I have not altered these pics, it really is this color)

I’ll give you hint: it’s not a fruit, it’s a vegetable and it is a funky member of the brassica family.

This is the perfect item for a “guess what this is” contest. Doesn’t it almost looks like spores in a pitri dish? I have to admit, this vegetable was way more fun to photograph than it was to eat! Not that it doesn’t taste good—it does. It’s just so funky fresh in it’s natural state!

Give up? In Italian, this is called brocolo romanesco, or romanesco broccoli. Now, I don’t know if this exists in the US, but I certainly have never seen it. How does it taste? It tastes like chicken. No, just kidding… It tastes like cauliflower, only a bit more tangy and flavorful. I have never been a fan of cauliflower, but this I like. Moms take note! This could fascinate kids just enough to make them want to eat it! How popular was "Green Eggs & Ham"? I know I tried to make it.

I suppose you could prepare it any way you would prepare cauliflower, although, I highly recommend maintaining it’s unusual shape and color. I tried a few things with it but the best way to maintain it’s crazy beauty is to lightly steam it and drizzle it with high quality olive oil. It was also great roasted it in the oven. Here is my recipe for what I call:

Romanesco Gratinato

1 head of romanesco broccoli (regular cauliflower will do)
1 Tbsp. Herbes de Provence (see Making Herbes de Provence)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
½ cup grated parmiggiano cheese (or any hard cheese of your choice)

Mix the olive oil, vinegar and herbs in a large bowl and toss in the cauliflower florets until well coated. Put the mixture into a baking dish and roast in a 400° oven for about 15 minutes. Remove the dish, stir the florets, cover with your cheese and return to the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Buon appetito!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for clearing this up for me. I saw it in a recipe list and had no idea what it was. It looked like a strange fruit. Good to know how to use it. I can impress my friends when I serve it also.


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