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THE VEGETABLE FROM OUTER SPACE!

You’d better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,

For he may eat your city soon.

You’d better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,

If he’s still hungry, the whole country’s doomed.

He came from outer space, lookin’ for somethin’ to eat.

He landed in Chicago

 He thought Chicago was a treat. (It was sweet, it was just like sugar)

You’d better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,

For he may eat your city soon (wacka-do, wacka-do, wacka-do)

You’d better watch out for the eggplant that ate Chicago,

If he’s still hungry, the whole country’s doomed.

Unfortunately, we aren’t talking about eggplant. We’re talking about a really cool-looking vegetable you probably haven’t come across, or if you have seen it you thought what the heck is THAT?  

It’s Romanesco – AKA Romanesco broccoli, Roman cauliflower, and sometimes broccoflower (though that usually means a cauliflower that is inexplicably green, without any of the swirls and minarets seen on Romanesco).

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For you math and computer geeks, ” the broccoli’s shape approximates a natural fractal; each bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in yet another logarithmic spiral….The number of spirals on the head of Romanesco broccoli is a Fibronacci number. In computer graphics, its pattern has been modeled as a recursive helical arrangement of cones. ”  I have no idea what any of that means.

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It tastes like a somewhat grassy, herbal version of cauliflower, of which it is a variant. It’s one of the cruciferous vegetables (cross-shaped leaves – like Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli) so it is considered to be one of those cancer-fighting foods, and is high in Vitamins C and K and fiber. The Italians were eating it at least as far back as the 16th century. Now we’re starting to see it in American groceries. It isn’t the cheapest veg in the store, but one head will serve four to six people, so it does go a long way.

Treat Romanesco the same way you would cauliflower. It’s nice eaten raw on a crudité  plate with a dip, sliced thinly into salads, or cooked and blended into a creamy soup.

I’d just as soon forget the now-closed local Mexican restaurant that advertised proudly “BROCCAMOLE!” which was some weird substitute for guacamole, and was just as nasty as it sounds.

Or break it into florets, then steam it until barely tender (it takes longer to cook than cauliflower) and bake with a cheesy sauce. Pictured below – I made a Béchamel sauce to which I added turmeric (another anti-cancer ingredient), lemon pepper, and cayenne, a couple of kinds of cheese, and some leftover raw veggies from a pizza-making night, poured the sauce over the steamed romanesco, topped the whole thing with diced tomatoes, and baked it about 20 minutes.

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2 responses »

  1. It reminds me of the cactus-type plant my grandmother used to grow, called Hen and Chicks. lol

    Reply

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