06 March 2009

We tried a new vegetable tonight.  I've really been interested in trying new vegetables and new vegetable recipes lately.  Nuking frozen peas over and over again is getting boring!  I'm not sure if I mentioned this before or not, but I recently purchased the cookbook, Perfect Vegetables.  It has the best method for cooking each vegetable and has recipes to go along.  

Anyway, now I love perusing the produce department at the grocery store to look at all of the different vegetables I haven't tried yet.  The Meijer I do my monthly shopping at has a really nice produce section with lots of out-of-the-ordinary veggies.  Yesterday I came across something called broccoflower.  It kind of looks like green cauliflower, but has weird geometrical spikes on it instead of the usual clumpy head.  I assumed it was a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, but it doesn't really look anything like broccoli.

So I bought it and after I got home I looked it up.  It turns out that the term broccoflower can refer to two different things.  One is green cauliflower and the other is what I bought, a different type of cauliflower also known as Italian cauliflower or Romanesco broccoli.  That name is deceiving because it is not a cross between broccoli and cauliflower; it is just a different variety of cauliflower.  I guess it got that name because of the green color.  It is quite interesting, though, because of the pattern of the head, as you can see from the picture above.  The dark green spots are the result of bruising it received in my car on the way home.

To prepare it, I read that you cut it up similar to regular cauliflower.  I cut the core out and proceeded to cut off the florets.  Another difference from regular cauliflower is that the head is less dense and the florets have actual stems.  This was the one way in which it resembled broccoli to me.  The stems looked like broccoli stems, but were much more tender and not woody at all.  

To cook it, I just steamed the florets.  The broccoflower does taste a lot like regular cauliflower, but it is slightly sweeter.  It is more mild than regular cauliflower.  I didn't take a picture of the cooked broccoflower because it looked exactly the same as raw.  It was really good.  I would definitely buy it again.

And it's very nutritious.  One cup raw provides 20 calories, almost 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 56 mg of calcium.

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