What is this spiky vegetable? Romanesco is an edible flower that was first cultivated in Italy in the 16th century. It resembles broccoli and cauliflower in taste and can be prepared in the same way. Each bud is composed of smaller buds which form a logarithmic spiral, creating a natural fractal.
Because it’s so beautiful, we think that a minimal preparation is best to showcase both its interesting form and delicious flavor. It can be roasted whole and featured as a cool centerpiece for your next meal.
Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower
1 medium head romanesco cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide florets, or leave whole
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F or heat a grill to med-high.
- Toss romanesco with oil and salt in a large bowl. Spread in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan and roast 25 to 35 minutes. – OR – Place florets on hot grill 15 – 20 minutes.
- Stir and turn over occasionally, until tender and golden brown.
- Spice it up with some red pepper flakes or curry powder.
- Toss with slivered almonds and currants.
- Marinate in a purée of 1 onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin.
- Purée the roasted romanesco with enough milk or broth to make it creamy.