“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Friday, February 18, 2011

Edible Fractals

Remember all those years ago (errr... maybe...) back in the 90s, or perhaps it was the late 80s - I don't really recall the exact moment.


Remember back when chaos theory and fractals were all the rage. The fractal pictures were really amazing to look at, and yet none of us really  understood what they represented, but they were pretty, so we just rolled with it? Remember?

Ooh. Aah.
Don't worry, I'm not going to try to explain them to you. This is a food blog. If you can't eat it, we're only mildly interested.

A few days ago I asked you what this was...

My mum took a crack at it with  calabrese,  which is close. Calabrese is a name sometimes applied to Broccoli of any form, and the name comes from the Calabria region of Italy. But this is in fact a cultivar of Cauliflower (all part of the same family (Brassicaceae) I know), known as Romanesco Cauliflower, Roman Cauliflower, or sometimes Romanesco Broccoli, just to confuse matters. Its green colour should not confuse it with the American Broccoflower, though - they are distinctly different varieties. Romanesco has been around a long time - it was apparently first documented in Italy (well, duh!) in the sixteenth century.

One thing I can tell you, though, is that despite its outlandish appearance, it tastes just as good as ordinary cauliflower, so you can go ahead and use it in the same way you would the regular one - cauliflower cheese, steamed cauliflower, whatever. Just looks really cool on the plate. Just don't overcook it though - Romanesco is a tad tenderer than standard cauli and will get mushy very easily.

Oh, come on, Jeff. How about a recipe?

Oh, alright.

Try this for a little twist on cauliflower cheese.

Roasted Romanesco with Cheese

1.  Wash and chop into florets.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C.

3.  Toss florets in a bowl with a splash of olive oil , a couple of cloves of crushed or chopped garlic, salt, pepper and a handful of grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, or any strong hard cheese will do (mature cheddar, for example).

4. Spread onto an oven tray and roast for about 20-25 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Go on, Jeff. Give us another one.

Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for Cauliflower Risotto, right here.

Anyway, onward and upward. Per ardua ad astra. Etcetera.

What's the new food?

Name This Food!

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