Romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflower as it is also known, is an edible flower from the cabbage family. Chartreuse in color, with many conical buds, it has a delicate, nutty flavor. I received one of these interesting and unusual vegetables in a CSA basket from my friends at Outer Aisle last week and decided to roast it Italian style, for a versatile and tasty, seasonal side dish. I think you will love the way it tastes, sweet, salty, sour and winter fresh!
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 head of Romanesco, separated into florets
2 T pine nuts
2 T currants
1 T capers
1 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper
juice and zest of half a lemon
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the florets in 2 T olive oil, a pinch or two of salt and pepper and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, warm the remaining 2 T of olive oil in a small skillet over very low heat. Add the chopped garlic, pine nuts, currents and capers. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned and the nuts and the capers toasty. Stir in the smoked paprika and red pepper flakes and set aside. Remove the Romanesco from the oven and place it in a large bowl, big enough to mix it in. Pour the skillet ingredients over the Romanesco then the lemon juice and zest and toss to coat. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature. You can serve this as a side dish with chicken beef or pork or toss it into pasta or even eggs. You could substitute broccoli or cauliflower in place of the Romanesco...but why?
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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