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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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