Sunday, March 7, 2010

Romanesco - Main Dish & A Sequel [011235813...]

This was our first attempt at making broccoli romanesco. It was developed as a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, so I gravitated toward my favorite broccoli preparation - roasting!

Round One - Roasted Veggies

On Saturday night, we hade some lovely roasted veggies with pomegranate vinaigrette. I used a Martha Stewart holiday recipe (original here) and made a few tweaks, mostly to omit a few ingredients and extend the roasting time a bit. My mix contained the broccoli romanesco, sweet potatoes, and brussel sprouts. The sprouts needed a bit longer in the oven than its veg brethren, but nonetheless it was a tasty mix! It was also my first time cooking (but not my first time consuming!) brussels. The veggies were roasted then doused in a simple pomegranate vinaigrette - while in theory this was a delicious idea, my pom got lost amidst the strong flavor of cruciferous veggies. Perhaps it would benefit from being concentrated into a pom syrup? Or maybe the Trader Joe's pom juice (it was from concentrate) wasn't very strong?

I believe that romanesco's spiral design is an example of the Fibonacci sequence expressed in nature (a fractal). The Fibonacci sequence begins with the numbers 0 and 1, and from there each subsequent number represents the total of the two prior numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on). When a particular tiling pattern is created using the numbers in this sequence, the corners of the tiles can connect to form the spiral shape that we see so often in nature. Imagine a mollusk spiral shell and you have the approximate proportions of the Fibonnaci sequence. Click here for a clearer description and images showing the Fibonnaci tiling and spiral.

The romanesco was vaguely cauliflowery, but I thought the broccoli flavor and texture was more prominent. I enjoyed it! I think I'd like to try a pan-fried saute version with lemon and olive oil next time for a brighter flavor.

We ate the veggies with polenta. I used a ready-made polenta tube, sliced up and pan-fried with cheese melted on top. Yum!

Round Two - Couscous Salad

I am a big fan of the kitchen sink grain salad. Grains + veggies + dressing + toppings = lunch! We ate a kitchen sink grain salad on Sunday.

I made couscous with a dab of butter and garam masala, then let it cool down a bit. To that I added the leftover roasted veggies, plus some chopped carrot and dried cranberries. Whipped up a quick dressing of sour cream, pom juice, dijon mustard, s & p, and a little bit of olive oil. Mixed that all in and topped each bowl with cashews (roasted unsalted) and a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Those are my Franciscanware antique bowls, a gift from my stepmother when she and my dad moved half way across the country! I cherish their fun, bright colors and soft wave design. They look fabulous in any kitchen! [Special message for my brother - you need to return the stolen box of dishes!! I haven't forgotten about that!]

And today (Monday), I polished off the rest of the salad - with some cheddar and charred onions on top, heated in the microwave for a bit. It was amazing!

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