Have you seen this most gorgeous vegetable?
I'm sure you probably have and walked right by it in the produce aisle because it looks weird so you may have assumed that it probably tastes bad, right?
I've seen this at my local store for awhile and have ignored it until this weekend.
Introducing romanesco: a member of the brassica family, (broccoli, cauliflower, and kale). Apparently, it was developed in Italy in the 16th century but made it's debut in the United States in the 1990's.
It's health benefits are similar to broccoli - a nutrient dense vegetable - packed with vitamins C, K, and A, as well as folate, dietary fiber (though slightly less than broccoli), iron, manganese, carotene, protein, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. It's considered to be one the most easily digestible vegetables. In addition, romanesco is high in a flavonoid compound called kaempferol, which has been shown in multiple studies to kill cancer cells and prevent the formation of new ones. Studies to date have addressed cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, prostate, and ovaries. The iron, folate, and vitamin C levels make it an excellent choice for those struggling with anemia and infertility. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, control inflammation, and improve bone density. Finally, romanesco's fiber helps you feel full which will help maintain a healthy bodyweight.
There are many ways to prepare romanesco (similar to broccoli).
For example, you can cut it into florettes, blanch in boiling water and then shock them in an ice bath so they maintain their nutrition as well as vibrant color. Use these in your favorite cold noodle or green salad
It's a welcome addition to any stir fry dish - however do NOT overcook it.
I like roasting vegetables in the wintertime, so I used this recipe from The Kitchen Snob and found it to be incredibly delicious. It tasted like a nice combo of cauliflower and broccoli - a little nutty, mild, and had a very satisfying crunch.
1 head of Broccoli Romanesco
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
⅛ teaspoon salt
15 turns fresh ground pepper
Hot paprika or red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F and line baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick spray.
Take a deep breath as you realize you are going to actually eat this spiky, alien looking vegetable. It's going to be okay.
Cut off Romanesco florets (as you would broccoli or cauliflower) and place in a medium size bowl.
Season with salt, pepper.
If you are using the hot paprika or red pepper flakes, lightly sprinkle them to taste over the top - I used the paprika. (You don't need a lot unless you really want it spicy).
Add olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the Pecorino Romano and toss to coat.
Lay Romanesco in single layer on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning once at the halfway point.
Sprinkle remaining shredded Pecorino Romano over the top just before serving.
Give romanesco a try - it's definitely worth it and you won't be disappointed.