I have a thing for weird vegetables.
Not just the bent carrots or funny-shaped squash, but the lesser-known varieties that you often can’t find at the regular grocery store.
Part of the reason shopping at the farmers’ market is so fun is that you get to see some of these odd ball, heirloom vegetables that only the small farmers grow.
Of course, that means you have to figure out what the heck to do with them once you get home!
Last time I asked you what posts you wanted most from me, a number of you said “more vegetable recipes” and specifically “how to cook weird vegetables.”
So I’m holding true to my promise!
Romanesco is the veggie of the day, or what you might hear called “Roman cauliflower.”
It’s probably the most eye-catching weird veggie out there with chartreuse spirals shooting out in all directions.
And I usually can’t leave the market without buying romanesco if I’m lucky enough to: a) find it and b) get there before it sells out.
The flavor of romanesco is most similar to cauliflower, but a bit more refined. Usually a little sweeter and less tough.
How to Cut Up Romanesco
You could prepare romanesco the same as any other cauliflower, but don’t you dare waste those dainty little fractals on something like cauliflower rice!
Here’s my method to keep the spirals intact: Use a small paring knife to remove individual spirals, one-by-one. Start at the base and work your way around the romanesco. The larger spirals can be cut in half, so cooking time is the same for the whole dish.
Once you remove all the spirals, you’ll have a big romanesco core on your hands. It’s not as pretty, but it’s 100% edible. I like to cut it in quarters, lengthwise, then slice into quarter-inch pieces and roast it right along with the fancy bits.
(I actually think the core absorbs more flavor than the spires, just don’t tell anyone that’s the best part.) 😉
Like all cruciferous veggies, make sure you use enough fat to make it delicious and nutritious. (Yes, I said nutritious. And I mean it.)
Lard (or bacon fat) is really tasty and I usually have some on hand from breakfast, so that’s what I use in this recipe. You’re welcome to swap that out for coconut oil or ghee if you prefer.
Garlicky Roasted Romanesco
- 1 head romanesco (2-3 lbs)
- 3 Tbsp lard (or bacon fat), coconut oil, or ghee
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut individual florets from the head of romanesco with a paring knife. Large florets can be cut in half. Cut the core into quarters, lengthwise, then into quarter-inch slices.
- Place romanesco pieces on a baking sheet, toss with remaining ingredients (you may need to melt your fat of choice if your kitchen is cool). Spread in an even layer.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Toss to ensure even cooking. Return to the oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork and lightly browned at the edges.
Already a romanesco fan? If so, tell me about your favorite way to prepare it in the comments below.
New to romanesco? Give my recipe for garlicky roasted romanesco a try and report back.
Until next week,
PS – Get more veggie recipes in my FREE ebook, “Veggies: Eat Them Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To” via the box below.