VegBox Recipes

Romanesco

Romanesco Early autumn sees the amazing romanesco come into season.

I have to confess I had never seen one before it arrived in last week's veg box, but I've since seen them in several farmers' markets and shops.

VegBox Recipes visitors tell us they're getting them, too, so here are some interesting facts and tips about this unusual vegetable.

In Season?
This is an Autumn veggie.
Buy?
Use your romanesco as fresh as possible. It's packed with vitamin C, which deteriorates with storage.

Choose one that feels firm and check the stem is still creamy white, where it was cut.

If your romanesco has broken points (showing the white underneath), then use it the day you get it (or as soon as possible), to prevent it going off. Romanesco
Store?
Keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days. After that, it starts going softer and slightly brown.
Cook?
Remove the outer leaves and the chunky stalk, as you would for cauliflower.

Break the points off into medium-sized florets.

Being high in vitamin C, it's best to steam it or cook it in as little water as possible, because the vitamin C is water-soluble.

Cook until soft (up to 10 minutes for steaming, 5-8 minutes for boiling).

You can either serve it as it is, as a side dish, or try romanesco cheese.

However you choose to cook romanesco, be careful not to stir it too much during cooking, because it looks better with the "Christmas tree" florets intact.

More Romanesco Information

Romanesco looks like an intricate forest of Christmas trees! It has to be one of the most amazing-looking vegetables we've ever seen.

It's almost too beautiful to eat! (Ok, but you get what we mean!).

It's actually a member of the cauliflower family and has a similar taste to cauliflower.

The bonus is that it cooks more reliably - it's got less of a tendency to turn to a slimey mush. And it looks amazing on the dinner plate.

It looks like a 3-D puzzle, with the pointy bits being made up of pointy bits, which are made up of pointy bits. It almost makes me want to get the magnifying glass out...

Romanesco Cheese
Use your favourite cheeses in the sauce for this recipe. It's important that it has a good flavour, or it will taste bland against the romanesco. This recipe also works well with broccoli or cauliflower.
Ingredients

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1 whole romanesco (also works well with broccoli)
  • ¾ pint milk
  • 1 heaped dessert spoon of cornflour
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • 1 bay leaf (dried)
  • 150g cheese (e.g. Stilton, crumbled; Cheddar, grated; parmesan, grated)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method
  1. Remove the outer leaves and the chunky stalk, as you would for cauliflower.

    Break the points off into medium-sized florets.


  2. Cook until soft (up to 10 minutes for steaming, 5-8 minutes for boiling). Drain well when cooked and return to the pan, to keep warm.


  3. While the romanesco is cooking, make the cheese sauce:
    • Warm the milk in a pan.
    • Add the cornflour and whisk until combined.
    • Add the bay leaf.
    • Heat the sauce gently, stirring regularly, until thickened.
    • Cook gently for another 2 minutes, then add the mustard. Mix well. Remove the bay leaf.
    • Add the cheese and stir until melted.
    • Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper, if needed.


  4. You can either serve the romanesco on plates, with the sauce on top, or you can mix the sauce and the romanesco together.

  5. If desired, put the romanesco in an oven-proof dish and cover with the cheese sauce, plus a little extra grated cheese.
    Grill under a pre-heated grill (medium-hot) for 5 minutes, until the cheese starts to bubble and brown.

Cupboard-To-Table

20 minutes

Suggested Romanesco Recipes

Purple Cauliflower and Romanesco with Blue Cheese Sauce

This was initially an experiment, but as a recipe for purple cauliflower and / or Romanesco, it's delicious. It takes 20 minutes start to finish and looks impressive, too.

Romanesco Cheese

Use your favourite cheeses in the sauce for this recipe. It's important that it has a good flavour, or it will taste bland against the romanesco. This recipe also works well with broccoli or cauliflower.

Got one? Send us your recipe!

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