I love the Food Network. Mostly not for the shows that teach you how to cook. Although, my firstborn likes to watch Pioneer Woman for the glimpses of ranch life and I like her, so we sometimes watch that. What I go to the Food Network for is competitive cooking. My favorites are Guy’s Grocery Games and Holiday Baking Championship. While watching Triple G, I find myself critiquing their meals and strategies. Like I could even hang on that show – the only meals I make in under 30 minutes are eggs, tacos, and reheated leftovers. Maybe it’s the small children that periodically run through my kitchen or maybe I’m just slow – we’ll call it methodical – in the kitchen.
Anyway, Triple G is where I first learned about romanesco. It seems to be kind of a buzz word amongst the chefs. I would watch and think, “what is this exotic vegetable they keep using”. I’m sure the first time I got it in a Local Pumpkin box I pulled it out like, “awwww” (que light beaming out). Here’s the thing, romanesco is nothing to be intimidated by. It’s absolutely unique and beautiful in appearance. But it’s so easy to cook, you probably don’t even need a recipe. (But you know I’m here to provide one.) In taste, it’s delicious though not especially unique. My kids thought it tasted like broccoli, I think it tastes like cauliflower. However, if I simply roast broccoli or cauliflower like I did this romanesco, my kids do not eat it. Tonight they ate all their romanesco without even being asked and had there been more, they would have had seconds.
Bottom line: romanesco is impressive without the risk of a new flavor. It looks fun and different but tastes mild, familiar, and so good.
Basic Roasted Romanesco
1 head romanesco
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt + freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry romanesco. Cut/ break into florets.
- Place florets on a sheet pan or in a baking dish. Drizzle oil over top. Sprinkle with fresh garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss together to coat.
- Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until romanesco is tender and has beautiful brown roasted bits. Serve and enjoy!
If you want to further impress your family or guests, bring this up during dinner conversation: Romanesco is a fractal. I’m not a math person so I had to look that up. According to dictionary.com, a fractal is “a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. “ Fractalfoundation.org says, “Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.” Another example of a naturally occurring fractal is a snowflake. And now I'm singing Let It Go ("...frozen fractals all around.").
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