What is and How to Cook Romanesco?

The Brassica family of vegetables is one that contains many different members – like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. There is one member of the family I recently discovered called Romanesco. I first heard of it on the Food Network show, Chopped. I bought some for the first time at my local farmer’s market, which might be the only place a lot of people will find it.

Is it broccoli or is it cauliflower? I think it has more in common with cauliflower, but unique enough to be it’s own separate veggie. It grows a big head like cauliflower and has buds that are dormant like cauliflower. Yet it is green like broccoli. Some like to call it Broccoflower, but the name is usually more often associated with green colored cauliflower.

Romanseco is easy to spot by it’s spiky apperance. Kind of looks like something from another world. We can go back to the 1600s to find records of romanseco being grown in Italy, which is why you might also hear it called Roman cauliflower.

What Does It Taste Like?
The best way to describe it is that it tastes like cauliflower but it more tender like broccoli, making it an good option for raw eating. It tends not to have the hint of bitterness you can find in broccoli and cauliflower. It also has a pleasant nuttiness to it.

How Do You Cook Romanseco?
You can cook it anyway you would broccoli or cauliflower. Roasting it can be a good option. I like to steam or boil mine until tender, and then drain any water. Then pull out a frying pan, melt some butter, and add some chopped garlic. I cook that until soften and then mix in the Romanseco. However you decide to cook it, don’t overcook, or that pleasing texture and flavor will be history.

What Time of Year Is Romanseco Available?
Romanseco like to finish growing in cold weather. So it’s peak season is in October. If you live in a warm climate, it makes for a good winter crop.

Where I Can Get Romanseco Seeds So I Can Grow My Own?
Many seed companies sell roamnseco seeds. Here some links to a few:

Johnny’s Seeds
Seed Savers

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