Roasted Romanesco

What in the world is this?

I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I've eaten (and enjoyed) various plates of offal, sipped chunky pink chicha, and devoured the stinkiest of cheeses.  But, when a head of Romensco showed up in my recent organic box, I was a bit lost for words.

While it looks like some kind of dinosaur snack or part of a rare coral reef, Romanesco Broccoli -- also known as Roman Cauliflower, or broccoflower -- is actually a variant member of the cauliflower family.  (I am thinking it should have a more prehistoric name, like Broccaulisaurus, or maybe Broccauliflower Rex but that's just me.)

Anyway, once I realized what this lovely green creature was, I decided to roast it just like I would a lovely head of cauliflower.  They're related after all.

I rinsed the romanesco and then cut off the large stem part and broke off the florets into bite-sized pieces.  I tossed them in a bowl with light olive oil, salt, pepper and a bit of garlic powder until they were glistening and ready to be roasted.

I placed them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and tossed in a few huge cloves of garlic that I peeled and smashed, set the oven to 400 degrees and roasted them for about 30 minutes, or until they started to brown and caramelize.

When they were done, I took a cautious nibble...perfection!  Smoky and slightly sweet, with an interesting texture and flavor (creamy and slightly nutty).  It was milder than cauliflower, but didn't scream "broccoli" either.   I served it alongside my Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese.  Tasty! (Chris gave it the thumbs up, too.)

So, don't be afraid to try new things. Head out to your local farmer's market or grocery store and see if you can find your own Broccaulisaurus for dinner.  I hear roasted dinosaur is the hot new thing.