Romancing The Choux

“Euh!? What on earth is that funny thing” I recalled that line years ago when I first saw it displayed amongst the others on the shelve at my local supermarket. The look was really protruding indeed and very tempting to my palate but the $ tag that came with it was pricy then compared to other greens. Besides, the color played another part in my decision… it’s greeeeeeen! Well, you can say that peas, spinach,broccoli are green too. So, eat your green! It’s good for you. Look at Popeye… 😛 yeah, right. Though I’m an adventuress type I do have my limits. Then out of nowhere, this green thing popped in my brain! I want to taste that because it should be easily available locally and cheap too since they grew in Europe! Voila! Huff puff i went to the local supermarket the following days… Romanesco Broccolli There it was, sitting prettily, majestically and bewitchingly… hehehehe. Waiting to be pick and tuck into my tummy! Ok… ok… What the heck I’m blogging about? ROMANESCO, of course! Errr.. don’t confuse with Romanesco-a Romance dialect spoken in Rome, if you search in Wikipedia… :-PRomanesco (Brassica oleracea var. Romanesco) is from Brassicae family like Brussels Sprout (another of my favourite and fabulous plant), Cabbages, Cauliflower. Some said it’s marriage between broccoli and cauliflower with sweet, nutty flavour. It’s an ancient variety that was grown exclusively around Rome or Roma (hence its name). At a glance, its tightly packed pyramidal, lime-green (chartreuse colour) fractal buds set in spirals, shaped like a peaked cap looks like an alien artifact from Mars(?) than a vegetable is an amazing example of phyllotaxis – the “fractal” patterning that can appear in our mother nature but has the nutritional benefits of its extremely close cousins, broccoli and cauliflower!

Close up of the fractal flowers

 

 

 

Now, how do I cook this? I tried by steaming the florets but not too long or they become mushy and the lime-green color may faded. Some cooks suggested adding lime/lemon juice after boiling them but I disliked the idea… 😀 So, what I did was 2 ways-plunging the florets quickly into very cold water after boiling them or steam in very little time. Ok, how I eat this stuff? Add generously dashes of extra virgin olive oil, freshly grinded black pepper and a pinch of fleur de sel like “vinaigrette”. Simple but yummyyyyyy and brings out the taste of Romanesco! You can eat it like salad or add to pasta of your choice at the last minute before serving (stir in the florets into the pasta sauce, gently… you don’t want to break apart the beautiful tips, do you?).I tried with penne pasta, tossed with cooked smoked bacon bits (I prefer to buy raw smoked bacon and sliced it in small pieces), chopped fresh basil, chunky tomatoes, feta cheese (or Gorgonzala) and generous dashes of extra virgin olive oil.Hmmm, some fresh cream (wicked,isn’t it? 😛 ) or grill with Parmesan or Feta cheese spread generously on top…ahhhh, the choice is endless! Hey… it adds color to your meals too!Cut up floretsAs I dug deeper into this amazing vegetable, the more I love it! Being ancient made me more apprieciated its value. I don’t want to see such plant extinct! Take a look into this “Mariquita Farm” and you will see what I meant. They also have recipes for you to try. Also, there are many other sites that blog about this wonderful vegetable and “tips”… :)Oh, I didn’t post any picts of my cooking or recipes at this moment. Will do that soon… :-DNow, where can I find “orange” and “purple” cauliflower!!!

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