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name my vegetable, and tell me how to cook it

  • m

Hi 'hounds,

I'm currently in Rome, Italy (watch for my posts on the Italy board!) and I just went to the market with my fiance. He became mesmorized by a very strange looking vegetable - imagine a head of cauliflower, but bright green, and instead of florets it has geometrical pyramids sticking off of it, made of smaller pyramid-ic florets growing in a spiral. It's currently in season here, so we bought one, and I'm at a loss. I was hoping my Marcella would mention it, but she doesn't include it (probably thinking, rightly, that it's rather uncommon in the US!). Either the English or Italian name would be appreciated!

Thank you very much!

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  1. Sounds like romanesco, aka "romanesco broccoli". It's not common, but you can find it in the US. Don't like it. Tastes a bit like brussels sprouts.


    1. I think you've got what I've seen called broccoflower here. At least it's in the broccoli/cauliflower family, and could be cooked in the same way -- beautiful!

      1 Reply
      1. re: alaughingdog

        It is broccoflower and readily available in the markets right now where I live. Treat is like cauliflower

      2. I've only had it/ seen it in a restaurant (in British Columbia) and it was served roasted, similarly if you were to do it with cauliflower. It tasted like cauliflower too. It is very pretty.

        1. romanesco, cauliflower hybrid. perhaps it wasn't around when Marcella wrote the classics . . .
          it's fairly easy to find in NYC these days.

          roast it or pan fry with pancetta, so you can keep looking at the trippy geometric florets

          1. YES! Zeldog, that's it in the picture. We bought it to look at it longingly - I think I will try roasting it Katie Nell - that sounds good (in our mini-oven though... ah, italian apartments!). Or maybe raw. I'll see what fiance wants to do (he just fell asleep on the couch... long flight!).

            Thank you all!

            1. those are gorgeous! I've bought them just to look at.

              They cook up, more or less like Cauliflower though they taste a bit 'greener' (whispers of cabbage) and are delicious roasted -- I once roasted it whole, simply because it was so cool to look at. It tasted better cut up and tossed with garlic, but you couldn't beat it whole for sheer weirdness.

              1. Oh, I love romanesco. Most recently I had some as part of the pickled vegetable plate at Momofuku noodle bar in NYC -- terrific!

                1. Try this: cut up romanesco, throw into baking dish, toss with olive oil and fresh, chopped garlic. Roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes, stirring once half way through, until a bit brown and crunchy. Yummy!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: SDgirl

                    Yes. Ditto that. It's also nice to add a pinch of cumin!

                    1. re: Kagey

                      now THAT sounds tasty! I got home late tonight but I will definitely give that a try tomorrow. er... in my mini counter-top oven. :)

                    2. re: SDgirl

                      I bought my first romanesco today, admired it for a while, found your post and roasted as you suggested. I agree - absolutely delicious, sweet, nutty, mild and more-ish. Thanks for the great idea

                    3. Had it n a salad at Incanto in SF where it seemed to have been blanched to a crisp tnder, chilled and anointed with a lemon vinagrette. There may have been some fennel in it too. It was delicious, fresh, interesting

                      1. The only time I bought a romanesco, I cut it into florets (some flat sides are nice), sauteed in oil and butter with minimal stirring and in batches so they got nice brown flecks. Also caramelized some sliced onions in a pot, added water/broth, brought to boil, added browned florets, small pasta and generous piece of parmiggiano rind and cooked till pasta was done. Served with a few turn of pepper mill and crusty bread.

                        1. lots of this in californoia farmers markets!!Gorgeous!