February 19, 2014

New Adventures with My Box: Broccolo Romanesco!

photo: yoli ramazzina

My husband hates cauliflower. I love it. (Well, I don’t love it raw, but I love it prepared any other way.)

One evening last week, the hub was looking up what fruit and veggies would be included in our organic farm box delivery.

He wrinkled his nose, “We’re getting cauliflower.”

I did a happy dance. I really love cauliflower.

He noticed my jubilation and said, “I’m not sure if this is the kind you like. It’s some different type of cauliflower that looks yellow in the picture.”

I was intrigued, “Yellow?”

I looked at the tiny thumbnail image on the screen curiously.

“Interesting,” I murmured.

From what I could tell, the veg had a cone-like shape, and it was a vibrant yellow that looked nearly neon-green. If it’s possible for a vegetable to glow in the dark, this one looked like it might.

photo: yoli ramazzina

The caption beneath the small image read: Romanesco Cauliflower.

I looked at my husband and shrugged. “That is odd looking. I’ve never seen it before.”

The next evening, I came home to an excited hub.

“I looked it up on Wikipedia,” he said. “It’s supposed to be sort of a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, flavor-wise.”

The hub does  enjoy broccoli, but I was a bit surprised at his enthusiasm. However, it more sense a moment later when he said, “This veggie is actually really cool. It’s naturally fractal!”

Blank stare from me.

“It’s a math thing,” he said.

Ah, the excitement made sense now.

photo: yoli ramazzinaPer Wikipedia:

A fractal is a mathematical set that typically displays self-similar patterns…Fractals are distinguished from regular geometric figures by their fractal dimensional scaling. Doubling the edge lengths of a square scales its area by four, which is two to the power of two, because a square is two dimensional. Likewise, if the radius of a sphere is doubled, its volume scales by eight, which is two to the power of three, because a sphere is three dimensional.

Romanesco Cauliflower, we hereby dub thee: Fractal-Flower!

When the thing actually arrived in our farm box, we were completely riveted by its shape and color. The Fractal-Flower was truly a unique natural beauty.

We touched it. We smelled it. We gawked at it.

We started perusing recipes to use as cooking guidelines. Despite its unusual appearance, the Fractal-Flower can be cooked the same way one would cook any ‘ol broccoli or cauliflower. It can be steamed, baked, broiled, roasted—you name it!

photo: yoli ramazzinaOther cool things we learned from perusing the internet:

1) Romansco is an Italian type of Cauliflower (Broccolo Romanesco). Buen provecho!
2) Like all forms of cauliflower, Romansesco is high in vitamins C and K.
3) Like all forms of cauliflower, Romansesco is low in sodium and full of anti-oxidants.

Good stuff!

We opted to season and roast it—Mmm, delicious!

Another Broccolo Romanesco has arrived in our farm box today, and I can’t wait to devour more exotically scrumptious Fractal-Flower!


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photos: Courtesy of the author

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