I walked into my local market this past weekend and there they were, pointy headed green globes otherwise known as Romanesco cauliflower.
This striking member of the brassica family demanded my attention; it’s was a stand-out among other vegetables both in its unique shape and coral-like texture. The light green color contrasted starkly with its paler, more common white cauliflower sibling and tempted me to grab a head for dinner.
Also called Roman cauliflower, this pretty crucifer is rather irresistible once you get to know it. Appealing in taste and appearance it can be prepared much like regular cauliflower, but its mild flavor and tender but firm texture is especially lovely simmered in a bright and bold tomato sauce.
The tightly packed light green florets are quickly dunked in boiling water for a few minutes then hit the pan for a short bath in an easy tomato sauce filled with garlic, bits of salty olives and plump raisins.
A pinch of red pepper supplies the necessary heat that pulls the sweet and salty flavors into line then water and wine join the party and the whole thing is left to mingle for 10 minutes. Bubbling around and about the sauce infuses each silky floret.
Once tender and yielding the dish is finished off with toasty pine nuts and a few fresh snippets of parsley. I’d also suggest a grating of Pecorino cheese to accompany it if you are so inclined.