It’s the season of the romanesco broccoli. With its luminous green colour and other-worldly appearance, this is a broccoli that alarms as much as it impresses.
The texture is similar to broccoli as you know it - the calabrese. Romanesco is as crunchy, but the flavour is not as nutty. Riverford are right when they say it’s “somewhere between cauliflower and calabrese”.
It was difficult not to stir-fry this, which is what I would normally have done with broccoli, but I decided to see what it was like pared down, so just littered it with a silly amount of garlic and adapted a recipe from the brilliant Riverford cookbook. And the broccoli was clean and delicious, and a lovely accompaniment to a good meat dish.
Romanesco with garlic and chilli
Start by making a hot dressing. Gently heat a few slugs of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan. Slice three fat cloves of garlic and pop the slices in the pan. Crumble two dried chillis in and fry for about two minutes to soften. Don’t let the garlic brown.
Cut one romanesco broccoli into florets. I urge you to use the stalk too. Blanch in boiling salted water.
Drain the romanesco and mix immediately with the flavoured oil. Squeeze some lemon, sprinkle some salt and serve.
It’s also a happy partner with some fried off lardons and pasta for a quick supper.