Every week we pick up a local basket of vegetables and fruit, eggs, a plate of 3 cheeses, an initiative of the farmers here in the South. The advantage of buying locally, straight from the farmers, is that there are hardly any transport costs and you’re sure they aren’t treated with chemicals for preservation in countries that have less strict laws concerning the use of them, than here. Eating what the seasons provides here in our part of the country, often offers us long forgotten vegetables and sometimes a challenge, even if they do come with a recipe! So did the Romanesco broccoli, also known as Roman cauliflower, or here in France “Chou Romanesco”.
First have a look at this wonderful dish of cheeses we got in our packet last week, nicely presented on a slate:
So this week we got this lovely vegetable, which is at the moment the new whopping hit with professionals and amateurs in the kitchen. Its structure resembling a little Christmas tree, makes it a beauty to serve cold, adorning any salad. No wonder the French nickname it “chou de Noêl”.
Just as cauliflower or broccoli it has compound florets, succeeding each other around a central stalk. This beauty’s flowers become smaller and smaller, the further away they are from the base. And know comes the wonder of nature, each little floret is an exact copy of the vegetable on its own. This vegetable illustration of fractals surprises not only cooks but also mathematicians!
Boil it al dente in its whole or in mini bouquets in salted water, far better than steaming it, as then its surprising flashy green colour might turn greyish! While it floats make sure the top peeps out of the water so it can’t be damaged. Here they prefer to accompany it with a vinaigrette based on olive oil or a nutty oil, even sesame oil, add some lemon juice and a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Making a wok? Just boil it in florets in a centimeter of water before adding it to your wok dish. That is the best way to preserve its precious vitamins: C, A, B9, E, its oligo elements, its micro nutriments and its mineral salts. This little wonder is recommended to prevail old age and several illnesses.
Take 15 minutes to prepare and 35 minutes to cook.
Ingredients for 4 persons:
1 Romanesco broccoli
1 puff pastry
¼ litre milk
100g grated cheese
For meat eaters: 3 slices of ham
For those of you who prefer a bit more taste: add a bouillon cube and smoked paprika
Plunge the florets 10 minutes in salted water and bring to boil.
In the mean time you place the puff pastry in an oven dish and put it in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at 180°. To prevent the pastry to puff immediately, put some grease proof paper on top (easy to remove once ready) and cover with kidney beans (dried version not out of a tin!), their weight will prevent the pastry to puff (keep them only for this purpose and yes you can reuse them).
Strain the water and let it cool down.
Mix eggs, milk, cheese, megnut, salt and pepper (and those that like it more spicy, some smoked paprika and a bouillon cube). I use a block of tasty cheese and grate it and I dare to use a lot more than 100g…
Time to decorate your puff pastry with the florets, meat eaters add ham (finely sliced), and pour the mixture over it. Ready for the oven!
Be patient for 35 minutes and you can serve it straight away.
Next time I’m making it, I think I’ll add some boiled sliced potatoes into the dish.