What is Romanesco?

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Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a sucker for a strange food – if I walk into a supermarket and see something new I develop an overwhelming desire to purchase it. This is why, one of these thingys below ended up in my fridge this week. It’s called a Romanesco and basically it’s the Lady Gaga of the brassica family – all spiky and avante garde. I admit I bought it solely for its looks. I’m not the only one to be sucked in by those. You should read the wikipedia entry on this thing….I quote

Romanesco broccoli resembles a cauliflower, but is of a light green colour and the inflorescence (the bud) has an approximate self-similar character, with the branched meristems making a logarithmic spiral. In this sense the broccoli’s shape approximates a natural fractal; each bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in yet another logarithmic spiral. This self-similar pattern continues at several smaller levels.The vegetable is rich in vitamin Cvitamin Kdietary fiber and carotenoids.

Well I understood the last bit anyway – it’s good for vitamins. As for actually eating it (rather than pontificating about its meristems), when I bought it the lady in the shop told me it tastes like a more creamy cauliflower. We therefore briefly toyed with mashing it, but I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower unless it’s dipped in cheesy sauce. So that’s exactly what we did with it.

romanesco florets

Look at those two mid right and tell me they don’t remind you of Marge Simpson

The Boyfriend was in charge of tea that night so he boiled it and then made up a healthy cheese sauce (skimmed milk and cheese powder – oops, that’ll be another one of those processed items sneaking in) to serve it with. Fact is any member of the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts) are a must eat as they contain high levels of cancer fighting chemicals so the more of them you can get in your diet the better, even if it is with a little dab of cheese sauce to make it go down that little bit easier.

It pretty much does just taste like cauliflower, but the fact that romanesco florets look like little Marge Simpson heads amused me no end. One top tip I didn’t get to try out – because The Boyfriend had hacked the whole thing up before I got into the kitchen – was eating it raw. Apparently it’s REALLY good as a crudite as it’s not quite as bitter as normal cauliflower. I’m sorry I missed that chance, but as they are still in season for a few more weeks I might try another one.

Peanut Butter update: Oh and while I’m here, I need to update you on the peanut butter story. Flushed with the success of his first jar The Boyfriend has branched out and made a second jar this time with dry roasted peanuts. I’m not keen, but he thinks it’s the best peanut butter ever – so, maybe give it a try.  The process is identical to that in my first post – if you didn’t see the original peanut butter post, here it is again


  1. The Landy

    Strewth, If I saw that on my plate I’d be worried it was going to eat me!

    1. healthehelen

      That just made me laugh and spit out tea.

  2. Pingback: Cauliflower and Broccoli Salad With Hazelnuts and Pecorino « Putney Farm

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