When I picked out a head at Saturday’s South Anchorage Farmer’s Market, the queries started immediately: “What’s that?” “What’ll you do with it?” “Is that any good?” Despite my enthusiastic assurances, some questioners remained dubious about Romanesco broccoli’s edibility. An engineer decided to buy one only after I told him Romanesco broccoli is used by mathematicians to illustrate logarithmic spirals and fractals.
A relative of both broccoli and cauliflower, the flavor of Romanesco broccoli is milder than either of its better known cousins. When well-cooked, the flavor is creamy and nutty, without the bitter edge some family members have.
Braised Romanesco Broccoli with Onions and Olives
Cauliflower, of any color, may be substituted for Romanesco broccoli. Plain Kalamata olives are delicious, though I prefer using Roasted Kalamata Olives in recipes like this. Dry-cured or salt-cured olives (such as those from Thassos) may also be used, but be sure to taste them and use less than 1/2 cup if they’re strong flavored. The broccoli will cook more quickly and evenly with the right sized pan; ideally, you need a covered pan 2” wider in diameter than the whole broccoli.
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