• Romanesco: From One Renaissance to Another

    Newhall Farm Romanesco Broccoli-Cauliflower  Mario Batali said of it: "Imagine the psychedelic lovechild of broccoli and cauliflower with lime green British punk hair, and you have something close to romanesco."

    Maybe it's the I-talian in me, but I just love this vegetable. Not only am I Italian but this writer is part Romano hence the love affair. And more precisely even before I knew that this hybrid broccoli-cauliflower is native to Lazio, the birth region of my father, I was ecstatic about its looks and nutty flavor. Its cruciferous heritage makes it mighty good for you too.

    This heirloom vege is centuries old with a relatively new comeback in our own recent culinary Renaissance. The size of a football, it looks like a series of florets but I am told it is one giant flower as visually fascinating as a seashell or snowflake.

    Would thousands of people stand in line, camp outside, or fight for a broccolo Romano as they did for a Cabbage Patch Kid? You know the answer so this just proves our own little Renaissance has a ways to go. Cavolo Broccolo Romanesco is hard to pinpoint as broccoli or cauliflower or cabbage and I don't think any Cabbage Patch doll ever had a nibble.

    Raw or cooked it is delicious. Recipes concur about blanching before an ice water dip and they range from simple sauté with olive oil and garlic (of course) to a pasta ingredient with tomato (of course) to roasting with a sprinkling of rosemary, of course!

    Newhall Farm Romanesco Broccoli-Cauliflower

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