Food Challenge: Romanesco Cauliflower

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Food Challenge: Romanesco CauliflowerIt’s been almost 18 months since I landed on back on U.S. soil concluding my three-year journey in Germany.  It had been one of the most fulfilling and exciting chapters of my life and I knew I would miss it forever.

I have a clear recollection of staying at a German bed and breakfast near the border of the Czech Republic. It was during one of the warmer months.  Naturally, we took full advantage of the weather and ordered our dinner on the deck (which overlooked a small river – lovely!) 

Being the zealous life-lover that I am, I couldn’t help feeling a quiver of excitement when I spotted a funny looking vegetable that came with my entrée.  The texture was seemingly that of cauliflower yet the florets were perfect, green spirals.  To my husband’s dismay, I immediately began searching the web.  I had to know what it was! What I discovered fascinated my mathematical mind and warmed my vegetarian heart.  The “Romanesco Cauliflower” on my plate was an example of a Fibonacci sequence in nature! In other words, there is a mathematical formula that describes the pattern of this vegetable.  Of course, I couldn’t stop talking about it during dinner.  You can imagine the excitement I felt when I received my local farm bag two weeks ago and there was a head of Romanesco sitting there.  A little bit of nostalgia combined with math and veggies… PERFECTION. I think this vegetable should truly be my icon!

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Now on to the good part: eating it!

This first recipe is quite simple and delicious.  I threw it together on Super Bowl Sunday as an appetizer.  I know.  My husband is such a lucky guy.  Who needs wings when you can enjoy a tray of salty and crunchy cauliflower? One can never go wrong roasting a veggie.

Note:  Depending on where you live, Romanesco might be available earlier in the season.  In some places, it doesn’t make an appearance until early summer.  If you can’t find it just yet, substitute regular cauliflower for now, and then keep your eyes open for this unusual looking vegetable to make an appearance in stores and farmers’ markets.

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Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower

InDependent Original

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop a head of Romanesco cauliflower into small florets.
  3. Toss in olive oil.
  4. Spread florets on cookie sheet (Tip: don’t overfill otherwise veggies don’t get crispy).
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt, ground pepper, and fresh rosemary.
  6. Roast until slightly browned.
  7. Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan.

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Romanesco Cauliflower, Bok Choy, and Red Cabbage Stir Fry

adapted from A House in the Hills

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • Head of Romanesco caulifower
  • approximately 5 pieces of bok choy
  • half head of red cabbage, cut into strips
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • oil for stir frying

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice according to directions.
  2. Chop vegetables keeping Romanesco separate from bok choy & cabbage.
  3. Prepare sauce (see below) putting all ingredients in a jar and shaking until well blended.
  4. Heat oil in a wok over medium to medium-high heat.
  5. Stir fry Romanesco about 7 minutes or until it begins to soften.
  6. Add in remaining veggies and continuing stir frying another 2-3 minutes (cabbage cooks quickly).
  7. Move veggies to one side and pour in sauce allowing 30 seconds to 1 minute to boil and thicken.
  8. Toss veggies to combine with sauce and cook until some of the liquid evaporates or veggies are cooked through but still crunchy.
  9. Serve over brown rice.

Stir Fry Sauce

InDependent Original

  • 3 tablespoons liquid aminos (or soy sauce of choice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime (or substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

*Note* I make this sauce different every time.  Adjust ingredients to liking.