Romanesco Salad

Have you ever cooked with romanesco? Also called romanesco cauliflower or romansco broccoli, it is indeed of the brassica family and looks like a mathematician’s fractal experiment run wild. It’s almost too pretty to eat. But eat it we shall. Romanesco is closer in taste to cauliflower than to broccoli, but milder and nuttier than either. 

In this recipe we are first steaming the romanesco florets, then lightly tossing them in a red wine vinaigrette, along with thinly sliced red onion, celery, parsley, capers, and lemon zest. We then leave everything to marinate for a bit, so the dressing seeps in, lightly pickling it. So good! If romanesco is not available where you are, you could easily do the same treatment with cauliflower.

Romanesco Broccoli on Simply Recipes

Romanesco Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of romanesco (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
  • Salt
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1/2 large red onion, or one small red onion
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 anchovy, minced (optional, omit if cooking vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup high quality olive oil

Method

romanesco-salad-1 romanesco-salad-2

1 Cut the romanesco heads into quarters, stalk to tip. Cut out the tough core and any outside green leaves. Cut again lengthwise. Place into a steamer basket in a pot with about an inch of water.  Sprinkle the romanesco florets with a little salt. Bring water to a boil. Cover and steam until just tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Remove romanesco florets from steamer, place into a bowl, and chill.

2 Thinly slice the celery. Thinly slice the red onion, across the grain. Place the red onion slices in a bowl and cover with water. This will take the onion-y edge off the onion, making it easier to eat raw in the salad.

3 Smash the whole clove of garlic (not cut, just smash with the flat side of a chef's knife) and place in the bottom of a small bowl. Add the vinegar and salt, stir to dissolve the salt. Add the minced anchovy if using. Then whisk in the olive oil.

4 Break up the wedges of romanesco into smaller chunks of florets. Place into a large serving bowl.  Add celery, onions (drained of the water), parsley, capers, and lemon zest. Remove the garlic clove from the dressing and add dressing to the romanesco salad. Toss to coat with the dressing. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour. Even better overnight.

Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to serve.

Romanesco Salad on Simply Recipes

14 Comments

  1. Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    I love the big leaves of parsley in this! What a nice change from Christmas cookies and other calorie-laden treats this time of year!

  2. Lindsey

    That is the most beautiful vegetable I’ve ever seen! I would like some in a vase on my kitchen table ;) The salad looks yummy too.

  3. Monica P

    What a pretty vegetable!

    Monica.

  4. Jeanette | Jeanette's Healthy Living

    Elise, love how naturally beautiful romanesco is – I made roasted romanesco recently and it was so pretty on the plate!

  5. Mark

    This looks fun…if only I could get my son to try it without drenching it in ranch dressing the first chance he gets. Great pics!

  6. Tracy

    How timely! I live in Tokyo and don’t see Romanesco very often. I love the way it looks and tastes, though so I buy it whenever I see it. I found some yesterday and snapped it up, thinking what should i do with it…think I’ll check Simply Recipes. Thanks so much, Elise; this recipe looks really good!

  7. Mara

    Made this last night – didn’t have any anchovies on hand, but it was fantastic! (I did have to take a picture of the Romanesco before cutting – it is the most amazing looking vegetable) Thanks for the reminder about taking the edge off of onions – very helpful.

  8. Leili

    Hello Elise,

    I follow your recipes for some time. When I read this recipe, the picture remained in my memory and I just dreaming of the fractal formed in broccoli.

  9. Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    Isn’t romanesco beautiful?

  10. Rachel

    I’ve never seen or heard of this before, but your recipe looks great! The fractal comment made me laugh.

  11. Cactus Wren

    Mandelbroccoli!

  12. Judi

    I am so thrilled that my market continues to have Romanesco. Making it for the 4th time tonight. What a delicious recipe! Thanks!!

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