Broccoli Romanesco. With its whirling, almost alien-looking spirals, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this vivid green brassica is some kind of genetically engineered vegetable. In fact, romanesco has been around since the 16th century and predates broccoli and cauliflower. Sometimes referred to as caulibroc or broccoflower, the flavour of cooked romanesco sits somewhere between cauliflower and broccoli, but with an added tasty ‘nuttiness’. Rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre, romanesco is a nutritional power house.
Snap off the spears and cook them as you would broccoli, or steam the full heads to preserve their green good looks, and serve them individually, well seasoned and garnished with butter. Once cooked, romanesco can be easily crushed and then sautéed with garlic and chilli, mixed with pasta and topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan for a quick and easy supper.
An ideal candidate for potager gardens or to replace ornamental cabbage in a planting scheme, romanesco is an easy-to-grow brassica that will give you surprising results from an early spring sowing.
Height: 90cm (35″). Spread: 60cm (24″)
October – December
How to sow
Sow seeds in a well raked, firm, seed bed in late spring in drills 10mm (½in) deep and keep moist. Sowing can also be made under glass at this time. Transplant the seedlings 45x45cm (18x18in) apart, when they have made 2-3 true leaves. For best results grow in a rich, fertile soil and water regularly.
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