My first reaction was, What the hell is that? The sign at the farmers’ market said romanesque, a hybrid of a broccoli and a cauliflower. It was so pretty and it made me so curious, I picked up one for myself for $3. It reminded me of a small piece of coral. Before cooking it, I actually let it sit on my table at work as a conversation starter. The spikes are as tender as cauliflower. If you apply enough pressure, they break easily and crumble. But it’s as sturdy as a broccoli. I was able to take it home in a plastic bag without damaging it. I could have made a stir-fry dish but I just wanted to taste it on its own without any sauce or dressing.
I reluctantly cut up the pretty-looking romanesque in smaller pieces and salted and steamed them for 12 minutes. I shocked them in ice water to stop its cooking, drained and put them on a plate. I had leftover umbriaco cheese in the fridge and it was like a jackpot tasting them together. Adding prosciutto was also a nice touch.
Ubriaco means “drunken” in Italian and the hard cheese I got from Di Palo’s is made from cow’s milk soaked in red wine. A stripe runs through the middle to give it a nice touch of color. It actually has a plum taste to it, a little bit sharp and tart.
1 romanesque, cut in smaller pieces
Umbriaco cheese, shaved (or any hard cheese will do)
1. Steam romanesque for 12 minutes, salting them halfway through. When done, shock them in ice water and drain to a plate.
2. Sprinkle shaved cheese and serve with prosciutto.