Romanesco broccoli is actually a variation of cauliflower. It resembles cauliflower but is light green. It is known as a ‘fractal food’ as its florets and stems are clustered in fractal-like spiral shapes. Romanesco broccoli has a soft texture and pleasant nutty-cauliflower flavor. It is also known by the name Broccoflower. In this sense 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. This self-similar pattern continues at several smaller levels.The vegetable is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber and carotenoids.
Romanesco is a highly nutritious vegetable with tons of vitamins and minerals – many studies linking it to preventing digestive tract cancers. It has high levels of carotenoids which help promote glowing skin, and iron, Vitamin C and folate which combat anemia and are beneficial for healthy reproductive systems.
Romanesco can be prepared the same as you would cauliflower and broccoli….
Romanesco broccoli resembles a cauliflower, but is of a light green colour and the inflorescence (the bud) has an approximate self-similar character, with the branched meristems making a logarithmic spiral. In this sense 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. This self-similar pattern continues at several smaller levels.The vegetable is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber and carotenoids.
Fixing Fractal Food
Romanesco is excellent raw, enhancing both the appearance and taste of an assiette de crudités. It’s crunchier than cauliflower and not as bland. It has a nutty taste (and looks kind of nutty too until you get used to it!) and doesn’t have the chalky edge which some people dislike in broccoli. Any dip that’s good with cauliflower and broccoli will go fine with Romanesco, but be sure to try it by itself—you may decide to forgo the dip. It would be absolutely ideal to serve raw Romanesco on a platter with an image of the Mandelbrot set!
Romanesco can be cooked using any method that’s suitable for broccoli or cauliflower, and may be substituted in any recipe which calls for them. My personal favourite way to prepare it it to break off the “level 1” spirals (it’s easier to do this with the ones at the base if you first cut them loose from the central stem by running a short knife around it from the bottom), then steam them for between 15–25 minutes depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables. Steaming preserves far more of the vitamins in vegetables than boiling, and doesn’t tend to reduce their colour to a uniform grey.
If you’re counting calories, figure 34 (kilo)calories (134 kilojoules) per 100 grams of Romanesco, almost precisely the same as broccoli and cauliflower; note that there are as many calories in a single pat of butter! Romanesco is rich in Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fibre. A typical Romanesco weighs between 300 and 600 grams.
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