Saturday, 20 August 2011

Romanesco Broccoli aka Romanesco Cauliflower Salad

I've never been able to grow my own cauliflowers well, whether it be snowball or a beautiful green coiled variety called Romaneco Cauliflower.  So last weekend when we went to the farmers market in Glasgow, my eyes full of excitement fell upon these large heads of luminous green vegetables.

These Romanesco Cauliflowers with its spiralling and mesmerizing natural pointy shell like pattern known as pyllotaxis were being sold for a superb price of £1 pound each, well I could not resist.  Not only was it my first time up close and personal with this 3D vegetable, it was the first time I had ever seen them being sold the Scottish farmers market.  I also came away with rhubarb sticks; and fat courgettes from a different stall.
I've already made a Sicilian Vegetable Stew with the courgettes, and with the rhubarb I've made a sweet and salty rhubarb bread (yet to be posted); and with the Romanesco Cauliflower a

I haven't yet mastered presenting my cold or warm salads elegantly, like those you see at high end deli's, so you will just have to set your eyes on this messy, yet colour and flavour packed bowl.
Romanesco Cauliflower, also known as Romanesco Broccoli or Calabrese Romanesco in Italian recipes.  Why? Well it may look like a cauliflower, but it actually tastes like a mild broccoli.

A little while ago, I also picked up a packet of Mughrabiya (or Mograbieh) from a Middle Eastern shop.  Mughrabiya looks a bit like Israeli couscous, in that it is larger, but it doesn't taste the same.  I have found the taste of Israeli couscous a bit like pasta, whereas this has some flavour.  You may find Mughrabiya being sold as: Giant couscous or Lebanese Couscous.  Mughrabiya is made from semolina, salt and water and the round grains are rolled individually by hand and therefore vary in size.  So if you do find some and end up cooking them, you will note that these semolina dough balls don't all cook the same, leaving some al dente, but that was okay with me. 

I don't have an actual recipe for this warm salad as I made it on the spot.  But here are some measurements.
Warm Romanesco and Feta Salad
Serves 6 generously
1 whole Romanesco Cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
2 - 4 tablespoons olive oil
250g couscous
Optional: 60g Mughrabiya
250g feta cheese, chopped into cubes
2 tomatoes, sliced
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of toasted pumpkin seeds
Roast the florets in the oven with a little drizzling of olive oil and bake until tender.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, cook couscous according to packet instruction or pour 400ml vegetable stock and 1 tablespoon olive oil .  Stir and cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Boil the Mughrabiya in water for 5 minutes or until tender, then drain and stir into the couscous.
Then stir in all the remaining ingredients.  Season to taste and scatter over the pumpkin seeds.  Serve immediately.  Best eaten warm.


  1. I always wonder how Romanesco Cauliflowers taste.. Now I have a better idea and will try your recipe soon! Thanks for the useful blog!

  2. I like broccoli and cauliflower! And whatever you say, I think the salad looks lovely and colourful and yummy!

  3. Ooh, that salad looks delicious! But it's the thought of rhubarb bread that has my mouth watering :D

    I've just found you because you found me :D I think I might be here a while now, browsing through all these lovely recipes!

  4. I haven't been able to grow this looks so beautiful and structural...

    Maybe in your new garden, you can give it another try. Maybe I should too!!

    Sweet and salty rhubarb bread sounds enticing.

  5. I love the romesco! Well, how it looks. I've seen it before but never eaten it. So pretty, and the recipe sounds wonderful

  6. Your salads always look yummy, very inspirational.

    We can't spend all day arranging spring onions like they do in delis and restuarants, what we go for is taste, pure and simple, if you have to dig deep for the prize you have to pass through many treasures on the way!

    It's something I have never managed to grow the lovely Romanesco, although I have sowed many seeds.

    Sue xx

  7. Thank you Food Glorious Food.
    I'm glad my blog has given you some incline towards its taste.

    Thank you Sumaiyyah.
    I'm so pleased you like the salad!

    Thanks DD.

    Thanks Annie.
    You may have to wat a few days before I post the rhubarb bread :D

    I'm so pleased that you returned the compliment by coming by my blog, its always nice to have new visitors and comments!

  8. Hi Gardeningbren.
    Its a shame to read that you haven't been able to grow it either.There must be a trick we are missing and i am sure one of us will learn of it and share.

    Yeah the wweet and salty rhubarb bread has got a number of my lovely readers, including you interested. I will share I promise, may be a few days away though.

    Hi foodfeud.
    Please do get some and try it for yourself.

    Thank you Gloria.

    You are so kind Sue.
    l agree with you that us home cooks can't spend all day arranging spring onions like they do in delis and restuarants, as we go for the taste!
    I love how you have worded it though 'treasures' :)

    Please do keep trying to grow this veg, as I am sure you will figure out what's needed to produce excellent edible heads; and then be able to share with the rest of us.

  9. I ADORE romanesco cauliflowers and cooked one myself last week! They are so pretty as well as being a more complex taste than a normal cauli ~ lovely post and recipe!

  10. Thanks Karen,
    Your right to describe the flavour as complex than normal cauliflower.

  11. Nice. I discovered Romanesco cauliflowers last year at Borough Market - very delicate flavour. Good to hear they are available in Scotland too. Where was the farmers market? I'm hoping to go into Glasgow soon so perhaps can time it to be on a market weekend.

  12. Hi Plummy Mummy,
    Good to read that you are settling in your new home. Sounds like your Scottish (Dundonian) so you will be familiar with the Scottish climate.

    Seeing that you live in Larbert and close to places like Falkirk, Stirling etc. I'd recommend checking out this site for dates of farmers markets. Then you have a choice. The farmer markets in Glasgow move around a bit.

  13. I just saw these at our grocery store yesterday, but they weren't organic so I left them on the shelf. I really want to try your salad, though. It sounds amazing.

  14. Hi Lauren,
    I will always grow organically, but I can't always afford buying organically, so would have said to you that perhaps you should have picked it up. Also a lot of the organic fresh produce we have in the U.K comes from overseas, so my main priority these days is locality/regionality and seasonality. Ultimately its your choice.
    Warm wishes

  15. Thank you for the link. I've bookmarked that. The hubby is Scottish but I'm from further afield. :) I am so looking forward to getting into good Scottish produce though...even the stuff from the supermarkets is tonnes better than the London fare.
    Haven't done any foraging yet though your posts on wild garlic really got me interested. Loads of brambles starting to come out now, so who knows maybe I'll be doing that soon too.

  16. Your so welcome Plummy Mummy.
    Yeah the brambles will be ready in not to long...lots of blackberry crumble ..but right now, lets enjoy the summer; or whats left of it.

  17. Romanesco is gorgeous roasted with a little olive oil, pepper,'s one of my favorite veg!


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