Romanesco is a winter favorite in my CSA box. This cauliflower cousin is a most inventive cross of vegetables along with it’s own genetic twists, literally, with tiny concentric twists of flower-like points. The flavor and texture is similar to cauliflower, but prettier and much more fun to eat!
As often happens on CSA delivery day I receive an SOS email from my friend Trudy. “What are you cooking with the….?” But this week it was Trudy who volunteered her favorite way to cook Romanesco, a variation on a recipe in Alice Water’s cookbook The Art of Simple Food. A simple seasoning of garlic, cumin, turmeric and salt that yield a most complex result. It transforms cauliflower too. If you don’t fancy those flavors, then simply steam or sauté romanesco in olive oil with or without garlic and a sprinkle of salt. But don’t over-cook; this veggie is best tender-crisp.
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Romanesco is quite seasonal. Look for it at farmers markets and well-stocked produce departments now.
1) Cut Romanesco vertically into quarters; trim and discard core. Reserve leaves to cook with the romanesco. Cut them if they’re large.
2) Cut quarters into 1/2- inch thick wedges.
3) Heat a wide skillet over medium heat; add a generous pour of olive oil and a couple cloves of pressed or minced garlic.
4) Add Romanesco, the leaves and 2 tablespoons water; sprinkle with enough cumin and turmeric to lightly color the romanesco. Sprinkle with salt. I recommend Kosher salt because the larger crystals add a dance of salt on the tongue, a little different than table salt.
5) Cover the pan and cook about 5 minutes on medium-high heat until romanesco starts to soften. Uncover and cook until tender-crisp and slightly browned, shaking or stirring several times.