Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friend or Foe?

Alien or marine? Decorative or edible?

A few years back I was asking myself these questions in the middle of the kitchen of a restaurant I was working at. The oddity in question was romanesco, and it was on display as a part 1 of 3 possible new entrĂ©es for our winter menu. For reasons I can’t recall, it never made past the prying sampling forks of the wait staff, but the image of said “veggie” was forever burned in my noggin.

Fast forward a few years and a few countries later and a friend hands me one and says,”Ever see one of these?” Like any TV or film grainy, strobe-like flashback sequence, the images came flooding back. The alien rock, sea anemone, whachacallit sat on my counter while I searched for ways to cook it.

Most recipes I found basically said to cook it like broccoli or cauliflower: cheese it, bread it, fry it, you know, fatten it up. So instead, I washed it, chopped and sauteed it in olive oil with herb de provence, cayenne and red pepper. Served it as a side to baked parmesan salmon.

Tis the season for romanesco, so keep an out for it in your local grocery, or deep sea exp

edition, or crop circle.