Romanesco Mediterranean Salad

Let’s chat about the beauty and uniqueness of a Romanesco. It has been making an appearance the last couple of weeks and is quite a neat vegetable. You more than likely have been looking at it with a confused and perplexed look on your face…like WHAT is this and WHAT am I supposed to do with it.

Do not be alarmed. It is a lovely combination of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage. It most resembles the flavor of cauliflower with a slight nutty taste. When cooking keep in mind it cooks much like a cauliflower.

You can eat this vegetable raw, lightly cooked or completely cooked. I look at it just as I would broccoli or cauliflower. I personally like my vegetables al dente with a little olive oil, garlic, s&p and freshly squeezed citrus of sorts. It makes for a lovely side dish or main course…whichever you prefer.

Romanesco broccoli

romanesco mediterranean salad

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

ingredients

  • 1 head romanesco (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1/4 large red onion, or one small red onion
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste

Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 anchovy, minced (optional, omit if cooking vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup high quality olive oil

Cut the romanesco heads into quarters, stalk to tip. Cut out the tough core and any outside green leaves. Cut again lengthwise. Place into a steamer basket in a pot with about an inch of water.  Sprinkle the romanesco florets with a little salt. Bring water to a boil. Cover and steam until just tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove romanesco florets from steamer, place into a bowl, and chill.

Thinly slice the celery and red onion. Place the red onion slices in a bowl and cover with water. This will mellow the onion, making it easier to eat raw in the salad.

Smash the whole clove of garlic (not cut, just smash with the flat side of a chef’s knife) and place in the bottom of a small bowl. Add the vinegar and salt, stir to dissolve the salt. Add the minced anchovy if using. Then whisk in the olive oil.

Break up the wedges of romanesco into smaller chunks of florets. Place into a large serving bowl.  Add celery, onions (drained of the water), parsley, feta, capers, and lemon zest. Remove the garlic clove from the dressing and add dressing to the romanesco salad. Toss to coat with the dressing. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour. Feel free to leave overnight.

Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to serve.

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