If you’ve ever seen this neon green, alien-like vegetable at the grocery store, but never knew what to do with it, I have the recipe for you. Whole Roasted Romanesco with Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme is super simple and served in wedges like a cake. It’s a fun and different vegetable side that will make your heart glow like E.T.
Romanesco, otherwise known as Roman Cauliflower or Romanesco Broccoli, is one of the vegetables that prompts a pause and “What is THAT?!” remark in the grocery store (or, that may just be me, I get excited over vegetables). Romanesco looks like a vegetable beamed down from an alien planet. The shade of green is almost neon, its florets the shape of spiral cones. It’s member of the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts and is packed with dietary fiber and vitamins C and K.
Romanesco can be prepared in ways very similar to how you would prepare cauliflower. Steamed, roasted, sautéed and even raw. Romanesco may look like broccoli, but its compact florets are more like cauliflower. Its flavor is not nearly as strong or distinct as cauliflower, however; the flavor is much more mellow and subtle, like an earthy nuttiness. The lemon juice and zest add brightness, balancing that nutty flavor. A hint of thyme and crushed garlic adds another layer of flavor, resulting in a veggie side dish that may be preferred over the main entree.
To serve the whole roasted romanesco, slice it as you would a cake into beautiful wedges. The shallots, roasted along with the romanesco, make for a delicious garnish. You can sprinkle Parmesan over the romanesco just after it comes out of the oven, melting into a thin, creamy layer just before serving. The slice of romanesco can either be eaten as is, or paired with your favorite dipping sauce, such as an aioli or marinara.
Next time you see romanesco at the store, don’t be scared off by its alien-like appearance. Think of E.T., and make friends. Hope you enjoy!
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