You would certainly remember if you have ever come across this vegetable, because its spiral, pyramid-shaped florets are hard to miss. We are talking about the Romanesco broccoli, a variety of cauliflower from Italy, or more specifically from Rome (hence the name).
Although this is a very old variety, it was only introduced in the international markets in the early 1990s. Pale-green, with a slight nutty flavour, it is simply delicious and very decorative.
If you’re a whiz at math, then you’ll be interested to know that the number of spirals going in one direction and those in the opposite direction are two numbers of the Fibonacci sequence. For all you others, Romanesco broccoli is basically a masterpiece of nature with a perfect geometrical shape (known as fractal), a bit like a snowflake.
Romanesco broccoli can be prepared in exactly the same way as broccoli or cauliflower. It is also excellent raw as a crudité with a dip.
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on November 19, 2011.