Heirloom Vegetable Seeds
by Sandy Swegel
Romanesco broccoli is a favorite of gardeners, chefs and mathematicians. Gardeners love its exotic shape and lime green color. Chefs adore its presentation on a platter and its great flavor, especially roasted. And mathematicians laud Romanesco as a perfect example of fractal geometry in nature with its swirling spirals.
My first glimpse of Romanesco broccoli was on a trip to Italy as a 21-year-old with a backpack doing the great European hosteling trip. I was in love with everything Italian and spent the day in the Italian farmers market where strange exotic vegetables and fruits were displayed alongside great salamis and pungent cheeses. I wasn’t much of a cook back then, but Italy is where I learned that all vegetables taste best roasted with some good olive oil, salt, garlic and served with a nice pasta.
Romanesco broccoli, popular in Italy since the 16th century, is a favorite here at BBB Seed, especially now that we’ve found an organic source for the seed. It grows just like any of the broccolis or cauliflowers (good soil, water, and cool weather bring out the sweetness). Steaming it or serving it raw in salads preserves the great color.
One more great thing about Romanesco broccoli? It’s just weird and alien-looking enough that you might be able to get the kids to try it.
Photo and Recipe: www.gastronomersguide.com/2010/11/pasta-with-roasted-romanesco.html