It’s not in season, but somehow it popped up in the farm share this week anyway—romanesco!—and I’m definitely not complaining. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, maybe you’ve seen it in the store and just didn’t know its name. It’s the green, spiky, cauliflower-looking thing that looks like a vegetable version of a multiceratops. We had some fresh mint in the refrigerator leftover from the mint juleps we made at our recent Derby Day party, so the waste-not-want-not spirit set the course for this recipe. (Unfortunately the horse I picked, Thunder Snow, actually refused to run the race, jumping and frolicking along instead. I think my choice was highly symbolic.)
This romanesco is delicious as is, or you can toss it with spaghetti, a little extra splash of olive oil, and some freshly grated Parmesan. I served ours with pan-seared Scottish trout, bread, and Merlot, which was probably the absolute wrong wine pairing, but I thought it was pretty tasty. I did a bunch of cooking this weekend, so along with this meal, we also tasted a bit of Chickpeas and Spinach with Honeyed Sweet Potato from Ottolenghi, one of my favorite cookbooks. I can definitely say that that dish does not pair well with my romanesco recipe, but I highly recommend it on its own—yum!
As June comes barreling toward us, I’m looking forward to cooking lots more vegetables, trying out recipes from this cookbook and some of the many others on my shelves. What is your favorite vegetable-centric cookbook? Comment and let me know!
Charred Romanesco with Chile, Lemon, & Mint
adapted from epicurious
- 2.5 to 3 lbs romanesco (about 2 small), cored and cut into florets
- 1/2 cup avocado or almond oil (or other high-smoke-point oil), divided
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 anchovy filets in oil
- 1 Tbsp pickled capers, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
- Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large, heavy saute pan, heat 1/4 cup of the avocado oil over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until very hot. Add the romanesco, stir to coat, and cover the pan, cooking 3 to 4 minutes without stirring, until the romanesco is charred in spots. Remove pan from heat.
- Add the remaining 1/4 cup avocado oil to the pan and stir to coat the romanesco. Transfer romanesco to a large baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until brown and crispy in spots. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette:
- In a small bowl, smash together the garlic and salt using the back of a spoon. Add the anchovies and mash to a paste. Add capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, pepper flakes, olive oil, parsley, and mint. Stir well to combine.
- When the romanesco is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl using a slotted spoon to leave behind any excess oil. Add the vinaigrette to the bowl, toss to combine, and serve!