Imagine the psychedelic love child of cauliflower and broccoli with lime green punk hair, and you have something reminiscent of romanesco.
Romanesco is an edible fractal, which is precisely what makes it so captivating and stunningly see-it-to-believe-it beautiful. A vibrant display of romanesco at the farmers market has been known to stop people in their tracks as its fluorescent cones and spirals hypnotize passersby with its alien-like beauty.
Romanesco’s big beautiful head of intricate spiraling florets is almost too compelling and pretty to butcher. But don’t let that stop you! As nice as it is to look at, it’s even better to eat.
Romanesco is part of the brassica family, but unlike its cabbage and cauliflower cousins, romanesco seems to have magical powers to incentivize even the pickiest of eaters to eat their veggies.
Romanesco has an earthy flavor and is surprisingly sweet and a little nutty when cooked. Kind of like cauliflower, but with a denser texture that holds up to a variety of cooking methods. You can blanch, steam, stir-fry, or roast it and it can generally be used as a substitute for cauliflower or broccoli in any recipe. Although preparations that allow admiration of its fractal form—such as steaming it whole or breaking off the points for crudité—are always favored.
Unfortunately, romanesco’s season is brief so keep an eye out for the next several weeks at your local farmers market—it’s hard to miss!