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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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Cooking with Romanesco

Romanesco is in season right now. The aromatic vegetable with its vivid yellow-green rosettes can be boiled, steamed, blanched or stir-fried. It makes a colourful addition to gratins, quiches, pasta sauces and vegetable soups, and it looks good as a side dish for meat or fish. Very young and tender romanesco can be added raw to a salad. By contrast with other types of cabbage, romanesco contains almost no substances that might cause flatulence, so it’s easy to digest. Romanesco is rich in vitamin C, provitamin A, carotene, B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.

Origins and attributes

Romanesco belongs to the Brassica family, which includes cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. It’s a cultivated form of cauliflower which was developed near Rome, hence the name. With its vivid colour and pointed shape, romanesco is certainly more eye-catching than the homely cauliflower. Because the plants can’t stand cold, the seeds are sown only in early summer once the ground has warmed up. The plants need fertile soil to form the huge leaves and big heads. They need to be spaced at least 60 centimetres apart. Romanesco is harvested while the tiny “blossom buds” are still tightly closed.

Cooking Romanesco

Remove the outer leaves and the stalk. Wash thoroughly and divide up into rosettes. Cook al dente in salted water. Adding a little sugar and lemon juice to the cooking water helps to preserve the vivid colour. 

Buying and storing

Intensely green and crisp outer leaves tell you that the romanesco is fresh. Eat your romanesco as soon as possible, because nutrient content and taste quickly deteriorate, but it will keep for a couple of days in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de