Saturday, September 22, 2012

Romanesco Regrets

This strange, other-worldly looking vegetable caught my eye at the University Farmers Market this month. Spiky green whorls on a cone-shaped head of broccoli-green cauliflower-looking something. What was that strange vegetable? Romanesco.

While it's all the rage recently on foodie sites (link and link), romanesco is truly an ancient plant, an edible flower of the Brassica family, first documented in Italy in the 16th century. If you're a mathematician, you have no doubt noticed the Fibonacci spirals, the fractal patterning... or maybe not. For all of its visual oddities, romanesco behaves like a more ordinary cauliflower when cooked. I tried SO hard to love it, but ultimately failed. I separated the whorls, tossed them with olive oil, dusted them with cumin and curry, roasted them in a hot oven and sprinkled parmesan shreds on top - bleh. It was still cauliflower, attractive but still cauliflower. Thus ended my first and last encounter with romanesco. 

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