Romanesco Broccoli with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

by | Nov 29, 2008

Romanesco broccoli has been popping up at farmers markets and restaurants across the Bay Area. The first time I saw it at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market it was so beautiful I could not resist buying it. But because I was unfamiliar with how it is normally cooked I was unsure how to prepare it.

Luckily, the same week I stumbled upon Romanesco broccoli it happened to be my birthday. For the occasion I had the luxury of eating at several great restaurants with this unique vegetable on the menu and got to taste it prepared by a few different chefs.

As a scientist I would argue that all this fine dining qualifies as research. It was very scientific too, I assure you.

If you are familiar with the scientific method you know that the first step is making an observation. My initial impression about Romanesco broccoli is that despite its name and green hue, the flavor and texture of this cruciferous vegetable resemble cauliflower more than broccoli. I also learned that it is usually prepared simply and pairs extremely well with garlic.

At home I decided to cook it in a frying pan using a quick steam technique (I think I made this up). I made a batch of roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary to serve with it.

I must admit, this meal was way more delicious than I expected it to be. It would also be a beautiful accompaniment to roasted chicken, fish or pork.

Pan Steamed Romanesco Broccoli with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Romanesco Broccoli dish:

  • 1 medium leek
  • 2 small heads Romanesco broccoli
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1.5 tbsp water
  • 1.5 Meyer lemon juice & zest

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes:

  • 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve and chop potatoes to desired size and add to roasting pan. Finely chop a generous portion of fresh rosemary, about 1 tbsp. Once chopped, drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix well.

Place potatoes in oven and roast until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes for about half hour, or until crisp.

While potatoes are roasting, clean and chop Romanesco broccoli into bite-sized florets. Clean and coursely chop leek. Peel and mince your garlic clove.

Heat olive oil on medium heat until it swirls easily in the pan. Add leeks and stir. Allow to cook about 2 minutes, then add garlic. After the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds, add broccoli and stir. Add salt and pepper.

Cover the pan and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add water and return cover to pan. Allow broccoli to steam for a minute or two, then stir. Add lemon juice and zest and continue cooking until tender, about 3-4 more minutes. Serve immediately.

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8 Responses to “Romanesco Broccoli with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes”

  1. Mike says:

    So where’s the meat in this meal?!

  2. Dan says:

    I have never heard of Romanesco broccoli. What did it look like before you cook it. How is it different from regular broccoli.

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m new to this stuff too! Haven’t cooked it myself yet, but I’ve been reading about it and had some at a restaurant in New York last month. It’s pictured here–a gorgeous vegetable! http://doesabodygood.blogspot.com/2008/11/harmony-on-nyc-dinner-plate.html

  4. Darya Pino says:

    Dan:

    Romanesco broccoli is definitely unique and not very easy to come by. Here is what they look like fresh. They grow in a fractal like pattern that is really remarkable.

    As I mentioned in the post, Romanesco broccoli is different from regular broccoli in that it is a lot more like cauliflower in texture and flavor. But I would say it has a more subtle flavor and is firmer than your standard white cauliflower.

    You should definitely try it yourself if you ever get the opportunity.

    —–
    Michelle:

    Great pic, thanks!

  5. Healthyliving says:

    One of my favorite side-dishes ever was at the Delphina pizzaria where they whipped up some magical concoction with cauliflower. Your picture reminds me of it; if I could only find that recipe (or remember what the dish was called for that matter)!

  6. Katie says:

    Those potatos look great! Not so sure about the wierd alien broccoli though.

  7. Darya Pino says:

    Healthyliving:

    I love Delphina! I wish I had been there for that dish.

    —–
    Katie:

    The potatoes were great, so was the alien broccoli :) That was really one of my favorite lunches ever (I worked from home that day).

  8. Matt Shook says:

    I have to tell you, this blog is turning out to be quite the resource. Its been damn cold up here the past week or two so I decided to forgo the raw dinner and cook up something nice and hot…I had some onion, red potatoes, and broccoli sitting in the fridge…the taters were on the verge of spoiling.

    I thought to myself: “I wonder if the foodie blog has any easy potato recipes…”

    A few clicks later…and I was on my way to making a great dish. I have a lifetime supply of rosemary in the backyard (a 6′x2′x3′ bush) so I grabbed a handful (that didn’t have snow on it) and prepared the taters quickly. I didn’t have any leeks on hand, so I chopped up the quarter onion I had and sautéed it with the garlic in the broccoli dish. I threw some raw pignolas on at the end to add a subtle nutty flavor to the traditional broccoli. Here’s how it turned out…a decent variation of the original. Thanks a million for posting this…

    Lastly, I never knew it was called Romanesco broccoli…I always referred to it as Fibonacci broccoli because of its fractal properties…now I know what to ask for should the occasion arise.

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