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Romanesco Salad

Ever tried romanesco? It's a little like cauliflower and a little like broccoli, and it makes a GREAT salad! Give this vegetable a try with this simple recipe.

Easy romanesco salad in a serving bowl
Elise Bauer

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 cauliflower on a countertop
Elise Bauer

What Does Romanesco Taste Like?

Romanesco is closer in taste to cauliflower than to broccoli, but milder and nuttier than either.

How to Prepare Romanesco

When shopping, look for heads of romanesco that feel firm and heavy. Brown spots are a sign that the romanesco is a little old; a few spots here and there are fine and can be trimmed off, but try to avoid ones with lots of spots. Store in the crisper drawer until ready to use (it will keep for a week and a half or so).

Prep romanesco much the way you would cauliflower, cutting the head into quarters or wedges and then cutting out the tough core. You can break up the wedges into florets at this point, or, as we show in this recipe, steam the wedges and then break them into florets.

Easy romanesco salad in a serving bowl
Elise Bauer

An Easy Way to Cook Romanesco

For this salad we first steam the romanesco wedges, then lightly toss the florets in a red wine vinaigrette, along with thinly sliced red onion, celery, parsley, capers, and lemon zest. We 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.

Storing Romanesco Salad

This salad is best served chilled or at room temperature, and will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

Try These Recipes With Cauliflower and Broccoli:

Romanesco Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Marinating 15 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Prep the ingredients while you are steaming the romanesco in the first step.

Ingredients

  • 2 heads romanesco (2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)
  • Salt
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large red onion, or one small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 anchovy, minced (optional, omit if cooking vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Steam romanesco wedges:

    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.

    romanesco-salad-method-1
    Elise Bauer
    romanesco-salad-method-2
    Elise Bauer
    romanesco-salad-method-3
    Elise Bauer
  2. Soak onion slices in water a few minutes:

    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. Make dressing:

    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. Marinate the salad:

    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.