The harvest is coming along very nicely here on the farm. I shared about the abundance of the beet harvest and wrote of all of the carrots that came in this year. Now the cruciferous vegetables are having their turn. In past years the broccoli and cauliflower really didn’t come in until late September, after we had a frost. This year for whatever reason they are coming now, but not in great quantities. What is growing very well is the romanesco. What is romanesco? I’m about to tell you all about it plus how to freeze it for future eating.
What is Romanesco?
Romanesco has a few different names including romanesco broccoli, roman cauliflower and Romanesque cauliflower. It’s been grown in Italy since the 16th century but I’ve only seen it here maybe for about the last 10 years but remember, I live in the boonies. The hubby has been growing it for two years and it grows exceptionally well here in Montana.
The vegetable is a truly unique in its look. To me it looks like little oriental temples. I could stare at them for hours and see endless patterns. These patterns are called fractals but I can’t begin to explain them. I just know one when I see one.
What does a romanesco taste like? To me it’s a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. Slightly nutty, a bit mild. Not as strong as cauliflower, nor as sulfurous. Last year I prepared a dish where I roasted romenesco whole and served it over polenta. I’ve made a couple of different dishes this year that will appear in the next week or so. For today I want to focus on how to freeze it for the future.
How To Freeze Romanesco
These instructions also work for freezing broccoli and cauliflower and you can see from the photo above that there is a bit of both in the harvest the hubby brought this day. The bulk of it though, is romanesco. The first thing you need to do is wash your vegetables. We grow organically but dirt splashes up and he does use a natural product to help repel cabbage worms.
Trim the romanesco. I cut off the individual florets pulling off the leaves as I go. This is done until I get to the top piece. You will recognize when you are there because the florets will start getting tiny and it is pretty obvious.
That piece looks like the photo above. This piece I cut into fourths or eighths depending on how big it is. I just cut it in half right through the top and so on. It cuts easily with a sharp knife.
The other florets I apprise one by one; the smaller ones I keep whole, the larger ones I cut in half.
NOTE: Keep the trimmings and stems as you can use them to make soup. I will explain how in one of the posts later this week.
Gather all of the pieces together in a bowl. Heat a large stock pot to boiling so you can blanch the vegetables. Fill the sink with cold water.
Blanch the Romanesco: Once the water reaching boiling add some of the romanesco to the water. Let it blanch for about a minute then remove to a bowl.
Immediately dump into the cold water in the sink. Repeat until all of the romanesco (and broccoli and cauliflower) has been blanched. When I have large quantities I end up draining and adding more cold water to keep the vegetables chilled down.
Package the Romanesco: Let the vegetables sit in the cold water until they are completely cooled. Drain the water and add the romanesco to zip bags in a quantity that works for your family. Be sure to date the bags.
How to Use the Romanesco After it Has Been Frozen
The frozen romanesco can be easily roasted by placing it frozen in a baking dish with a little salt and olive oil. Put in a 350° oven and let cook for about 30 minutes. It can be thawed and added to stir fries. Several bags can be combined to make soup. There are any number of possibilities – just try!
Be sure to check back later in the week for some tasty romanesco recipes.