Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This uncommon, knobby vegetable almost looks like a mythical sea creature.

Or as my husband said, some kind of alien creature. He used some other descriptive words too, but I won't repeat them here.
Last week, I spied this vibrant chartreuse veggie sitting among the oranges at my local manav in Beşiktaş. I resisted buying it because I wanted to wait until we went to the Saturday pazar in Beşiktaş like we always do.
Only one stall had this yeşil karnabahar (green cauliflower) as the vendor called it. I happily paid only 5 TL (about $2.80) for this 1.2 kilo monster.

Technically, green (Romanesco) cauliflower is a relative of both broccoli and cauliflower and is referred to as Romanesco broccoli. 

In Italy, where the vegetable is popular and said to have originated in the 16th century, people call it broccolo romanesco. Hence, the more common name of Romanesco broccoli. (Italy, gets all the cool vegetables and a multitude of cured meats!)

Whatever name you call this broccoli-cauliflower cousin, its flavor is mild, creamy and nutty. It steams well and easily could be roasted in the oven or drizzled with a beurre noisette (like I've done before with Brussels sprouts).

I'm sure it will only be around for a limited time here in Istanbul, so grab it while you can!

In my recipe, a head of Romanesco broccoli is trimmed into smaller florets, steamed with Brussels sprouts until tender, and then tossed with a caper-mustard-oregano flavored butter. This makes an amazing and hearty veggie side dish that cooks in just 10 minutes. (I spent much more time cutting and trimming my vegetables!) The capers add a nice tanginess.

This sexy side dish will serve as the star of our dinner tonight with  a simple roasted chicken!

Afiyet olsun!
Toasted pine nuts, tangy capers and garlicky butter = deliciousness!
(Note: I am submitting this recipe for the #323 edition of  Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Italian blogger Marta of  Viaggiare è un po' come mangiare. This weekly event is coordinated by Australian food blogger Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once and was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. Thank you for stopping by!)

Green (Romanesco) Cauliflower with Brussels Sprouts/Brüksel Lahanası ile Yeşil Karnabahar
(Inspired by a recipe in Local Flavors cookbook by Deborah Madison)

3          cloves                          garlic
1/2       tsp.                              sea salt
2          tsp.                              Dijon mustard
1          tsp.                              dried oregano
6          T.         (85 g.)              butter, room temperature
1/4       c.         (45 g.)              capers or caper berries, rinsed (Often found here next to the jarred olives and pickled vegetables)
TT                                            freshly ground black pepper

1          lb.        (450-500 g.)    broccoli Romanesco*, trimmed into bite-size pieces
8          oz.       (230 g.)            Brussels sprouts, sliced in half or, if large, into quarters

2          T.                                 lightly toasted pine nuts
Using a mortar, pound together the salt and garlic until you achieve a paste. Alternatively, chop the garlic very finely.
Then, stir this mixture into the butter with the mustard, capers and oregano. Season with pepper. Set aside.

Fill a large pot with about 1/2-inch (1.5 cm.) of water and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

Add the Brussels sprouts, cover with a lid, and steam for 2-3 minutes. Then add the broccoli Romanesco and continue to cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Immediately, strain the vegetables and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Add the caper-mustard-oregano flavored butter to the hot pot. Let melt. Drain veggies of excess water, add to the pot along with the pine nuts and then gently stir to coat. Serve immediately.

*          White cauliflower can be substituted for the broccoli Romanesco.

Note: Next time I make this dish, I might use a little less butter in the recipe OR add more vegetables.

Tagged: , ,


Jana ★ said...

Me encanta, en mi casa lo comemos muy a menudo.
Lo cocinamos como la coliflor y el brocoli.
Un besito ^^

Sue Narayan said...

Looks great, Joy. I've already put it in my recipe file!

Julia said...

I've never seen one of those in my whole life, nor knew they even existed. They don't exist in Fethiye, that's for sure. :)

jaz@octoberfarm said...

hey joy! thanks for this recipe. i keep seeing this in my veggie section and have not yet bought one. now i shall since i have a recipe!

Joy said...

@Jana, Estoy feliz de que usted está cocinando con ella también! Algún día, espero visitar España! =)

@Sue, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the manavs in Bebek is selling this green Romanesco cauliflower.

Joy said...

@Julia, who knows maybe someday it will appear at the pazar? ;-)

@jaz, I have another recipe to try with green olives, parsley and lemon. Your soup recipe is on the stove now!

Sara Louise said...

The first time I came across Romanesco I was like, "what?" I couldn't quite figure it out. I thought it was both pretty and weird at the same time. But I ended up stir-frying it the same way I would broccoli and it was pretty good :)

Joy said...

@Sara Louise, I know Romanesco looks weird at first, but it's quite tasty and easily adaptable.

Lola Lobato said...

What an amazing veggie, love to try your recipe.
I will use this cauliflower as part of table decoration.

Joy said...

Thanks Lola! The Romanesco would definitely jazz up any table setting. Enjoy!

Aaron G Myers said...

Oh, I am so glad I stopped by and saw this post. I've been seeing these things around lately and wondering. I would have just cooked it like brocoli, but now I have this amazing recipe to try. It looks great.

Can said...

I also bought it in Beşiktaş last saturday and I was surprised to find it! It was also çok komik that everybody was asking "what is that" to the vendor! I paid it 4 Liras!

Fragoliva said...

What a nice recipe, I love cauliflower romano. It is not so easy to find it, I tried it with pasta! B.

Joy said...

@Aaron, you could certainly use it like broccoli and replace it for stirfry or simply steam it. I'm working on another recipe.

@Can, Indeed, çok komik! Maybe you got the local deal, and I got the yabanci price. ;-)

@Fragoliva, I'm sure the Romanesco would taste lovely in pasta, esp. homemade pasta. Unfortunately, I've been trying to not eat as much pasta/bread lately.

Mrs Ergül said...

Pine nuts have become so expensive now even in Turkey. I stopped buying them in Singapore now because I can never be sure if they come from China. We don't buy those. Now that I have used up the pathetic 100 grams we brought back from Turkey, there is no more to use! One of the things I truly missed about Turkey is the farmer's market.

Joy said...

@Mrs. Ergul, Pine nuts here in Turkey are still cheaper than the ones in the US, so I buy them now and then when I need them. We'll be in Italy next month - maybe pine nuts will be cheaper? =)