Romanesco, cook like a cauliflower
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Cook and store and treat Romanesco just like Cauliflower!
Notes about Broccoli Romanesco written by Derek Morrick at Harmony Valley Farm:
Despite it's name Broccoli Romanesco actually looks and acts more like a cauliflower. Well it doesn't really look like anything else at all, but you know what I mean. One reference describes it's appearance as part starfish and part wedding cake. The taste is similar to a cauliflower but with kind of a nutty flavor and the texture is somewhat creamier. Romanesco cooks like a cauliflower and will keep it's shape and color for the most part although the green fades a little bit. You can also serve a whole Romanesco for a dramatic presentation by cutting off the leaves and cutting the stem end to make it flat. Then put into a pot with a lid and about ½ inch of water or stock. Let the Romanesco steam until tender, about 15 minutes. Otherwise if you are careful you can break off the spiraled florets and cook them as you normally would cauliflower. I like to season cauliflower gently with maybe just a little butter and some mild herbs like dill, tarragon or parsley. Or you can make kind of a creamy sauce to drizzle over the top, maybe flavored with fresh thyme and garlic or melted cheese. Or maybe a soup of pureed romanesco and cream with little florets of the romanesco for a garnish.
Julia's notes: I use this vegetable just like cauliflower. It makes a dramatic appetizer when broken into florets and lightly steamed. "What's that?!" will be a common response.
My favorite cauliflower preparations include steaming florets then tossing with a simple cheese or butter sauce, or simply sprinkled with a bit of rice wine vinegar. I also make a creamy cauliflower soup:
Julia's Cauliflower Soup:
1 head broccoli romanesco or cauliflower, freshly harvested
1-2 onions, chopped (substitute leeks, green onions, green garlic, depending on the season)
small amount olive oil
vegetable or chicken broth: about 4 cups
milk(optional) to thin out soup
cook up onions in the oil in a dutch oven, then add florets and cook everything over medium heat until browing somewhat. Add broth and cook another 20-30 minutes until everything is well cooked. Cool slightly, then puree with immersible blender. (I love this gadget!). Thin soup with milk if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Julia's Romanesco Salad
This was inspired by a thought of a pasta salad or a couscous salad: but I didn't want to wait to cook the grain. So I used romanesco (or cauliflower) as the main ingredient.
Cooked romanesco florets cooled after cooking, chopped into olive sized pieces
Sliced kalamata olives, or other favorite sliced olives
Small amount of chopped capers (1 tablespoon per 4 cups florets as a rough guide)
Chopped onion: Green onions, red onions, shallots, whatever you've got. If the onions are strong when chopped raw, use less and chop them fine.
S & P to taste
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Olive oil: I use a light hand
Fresh herb: I use basil, parsley, cilantro, or whatever I've got. Chopped
Mix and enjoy. I topped my salad with toasted sunflower seeds, another nut might also be delicious. And or a shredded or crumbled flavorful cheese such as gorgonzola, shaved parmesan…
Roasted Cauliflower with Green Garlic Dressing from Chef Jonathan Miller
I love roasting romanesco cauliflower. It really brings out the nuttiness in it. Tossed with a green garlic sauce, it becomes tender, nutty, and bright all at once. The bread crumbs really help this dish, so do take the time to make them yourself. And don't forget to salt them while you brown them in the skillet.
1-2 heads cauliflower romanesco, cut into florets
3 green garlic stalks, chopped finely
1/4 c chopped parsley
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 shallot, minced
white wine vinegar
1-2 heads escarole, chopped
3 slices day old sourdough bread, chopped finely
2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
Heat the oven to 400 and toss the romanesco florets with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet until softened and beginning to color, about 15 minutes, depending on your oven.
While the romanesco roasts, combine the green garlic, parsley, lemon zest, and shallot in a bowl.
Mix well, then add the lemon juice and a little bit of white wine vinegar. Add some olive oil in a stream, whisking constantly, until you have enough in there or a thick sauce. Taste and add a hit of salt and pepper. Taste again to make sure all the flavors are coming through and the sauce is lively and bright. Put the escarole in a large bowl. Heat a dry skillet and add a tablespoon of olive oil, then the bread crumbs and a touch of salt, stirring constantly, until toasted to golden brown. Remove from heat.
When the romanesco is done, transfer to a small bowl and toss with the green garlic sauce. Allow to
cool just slightly, then toss with the escarole. Taste. Adjust seasonings as you see fit, then top with the bread crumbs and hard cooked egg. Finish with a tiny bit of chopped parsley.
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