Romanesco cauliflower, broccoli, Monsanto experiment gone awry or delicious Italian heirloom vegetable will be on the barbeque today. This vegetable is referred to as a cauliflower and or broccoli at the same time. It is apple green and looks like a moon rock or craggily corral from under the sea. This vegetable is an eye catcher which grabbed us at the Santa Rosa farmers market. We talked to the farmer and asked his advice on cooking this spiraling, whirling, crater, nub studded vegetable. He said he would take a whole head and roast it in the oven. This was a no brainer. My oven will be a custom barbeque fueled by smoking hot mesquite charcoal. We only bought ½ head which weighed out to 1 ½ pound.
The preparation was simple. A slight mist of olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt covered our Romanesco. A small cast iron pan cradled this creature to protect it from direct fire. Our barbeque acts like an oven. We can control the temperature with accuracy by the position of the vents. If you were to use a home oven, I would suggest a temperature of 400 degrees. We roasted our cauliflower for 30 minutes. When we removed the broccoli the nubs had crisped and browned to a crispy texture. We took some scissors and trimmed the stalks from the stems.
We cooked our Romanesco cauliflower so it still had a crunch and still a little chewy to the bite. The browned nubs were sweet and crunchy. The stalks had a pleasant nutty flavor. This was a vegetable packed full of flavor. It did have the flavors and textures of both a cauliflower and broccoli. What a fun and scary looking vegetable. This is produce that I definitely will purchase again.