Week 9: The Weirdest Looking Veggie I've Ever Seen

Romanesco Broccoli

One day I was innocently shopping at my local food co-op, looking for ingredients for a normal (i.e. non-Kitchen Adventure) dinner. I was browsing the produce section when this odd looking vegetable caught my eye. I literally did a double-take. Doesn’t it look like some sort of alien vegetable? I had my Ipod on me and was able to find a free wi-fi connection so I looked it up.

It was Romanesco broccoli, also known as Roman cauliflower, broccoflower, or coral broccoli (I think it must have so many names because it looks so odd). It’s a variant of cauliflower, except bright lime green and covered with spiraled spikes. The flavor is sort of a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It seemed pricey to me at first, but the entire head is edible, unlike typical tiny broccoli florets attached to heavy stems, so it’s a lot of bang for your buck. It’s also rich in fiber, carotenoids, and Vitamin C.

I was determined to create a recipe that would keep the interesting shape of the Romanesco intact, but somehow we ended up doing the exact opposite and pureeing it. Russ made his sun-dried tomato tapenade (he usually makes this to go on goat cheese and portabello mushroom sandwiches), and spread it on toasted french bread with some of the Romanesco puree. The end result is a delicious twist on bruschetta, and would be a great appetizer for a dinner party or other gathering.

Bruschetta with Romanesco Puree & Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade

This recipe was created by our contributor Russ. You can read about him on the “About” page.

  • 1 Romanesco head
  • 4 oz. sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ~ 3 T olive oil
  • 2 T goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 baguette
  • Fleur de sel to taste

Fill a stock pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Blanch Romanesco approximately 8 minutes, or until tender. Place in a bowl of ice water until cooled.

Puree Romanesco once cooled. Place in a fine wire mesh strainer or tamis and let sit over a bowl for around 15 minutes. Mash the remainder of the liquid out by pushing the puree with the back of a spoon into the strainer.

1. Puree romanesco

2. Mash romanesco

3. Romanesco essence

To make the tapenade, puree the sun-dried tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, goat cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth.

Drizzle slices of baguette with olive oil and toast until lightly crisp. Spread tapenade onto each slice and place a small dollop of Romanesco puree in the middle. Sprinkle with fleur de sel to taste.

5 Comments on Week 9: The Weirdest Looking Veggie I've Ever Seen

  1. Jessi
    February 28, 2010 at 7:18 pm (12 years ago)

    I like it roasted with other “fall” veggies as a side dish. We have tons of crazy veggies in Napa. The Chef types dig em I guess… They are really good tossed together and sauted in some olive oil.

    Isn’t it funny how our parents had to beg, plead and bargin with us to eat normal veggies but then we grow up and buy veggies at the store simply because they look like aliens. LOL!

    • Stephanie
      February 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm (12 years ago)

      Haha that’s so true Jessi. What other crazy veggies do you have in Napa? I’m always looking for more ingredient ideas if you have any!

  2. Reactoss
    February 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm (12 years ago)

    Looks delicious!

    • Stephanie
      February 28, 2010 at 8:11 pm (12 years ago)


  3. Stella
    March 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm (12 years ago)

    I always wonder about this veggie when I see it. Now I won’t!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *