Romanesco, Romanesco. Whatfore Art Thou, Romanesco?

Since getting a weekly vegetable box, I’ve had to get used to eating a few things I wouldn’t usually have picked up off a supermarket shelf. Mainly sweetcorn. Sweetcorn fritters, sweetcorn chilli, sweetcorn stir fry etc etc. But this one has had me completely stumped. Romanesco – is it a type of cauliflower? Broccoli? Or some weird hybrid?

Personally, I reckon that if a load of hippies doped up on acid in the 60s were asked to invent a vegetable, this is what they’d have come up with. Just look at it:

Picture the scene: long hair, beards amok,all gathered round staring at the veg… “Wow, look at the fractals, maaaaan!” And they’d have a point. It does look strange, the funny spiky patterns make it look – manufactured – almost. Certainly, it doesn’t look like something that might just pop up out of the soil like say, a cabbage.

So what, exactly, is a Romanesco? The excellent Veg Box Recipes site says it is a member of the cauliflower family, so I suppose it must taste similar.

I have tried it steamed before, and wasn’t a huge fan of the taste, so I fancied dressing it up a bit this time round. The obvious option was to serve it with a cheese sauce, but I thought that would be a bit predictable. Besides which, I had cauli cheese with the real thing last week. So I think I’m going to try this recipe for soup from Prince de Bretagne, a French vegetable grower. Whether my attempt will look as appetising as theirs remains to be seen.

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