Spooktacular Vegetable

65570_10202617765914485_487038200165675055_nCan you believe that this stunning creation has been grown from ingredients supplied by nature?

I had this delivered in my organic veg box this morning and thought it’s beauty worth sharing with you, alongside some ideas on how to actually eat it if you fancy giving it a try.

The appearance actually reminds me of fairy turrets of imaginary castles from my dim, distant childhood, but research on the web refers more to an alien similarity. I guess it does look kind of spooky!

Romanesco was first documented in Italy (as broccolo romanesco) and found its way to the international market around 1990. It was cultivated in the area of Rome (hence the name), where it was discovered, and perfected by Dutch gardeners.

It is a member of the species Brassica oleracea L., which includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and some not so well known others.

Its appearance is known as ‘fractal’- similarity is shown through the full range of scale, exhibiting complexity driven by simplicity.

 

Nutrition

Like other broccoli, romanesco is a good source of the minerals potassium, phosphorous, calcium, sodium and magnesium and also contains low levels of iron, zinc, manganese, copper and selenium.

It also supplies the vitamins A (as alpha- and beta-carotene), C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9 (folate) and thus gives us the raw ingredients for many essential activities in the body such as bone building, immunity, muscle relaxation, release of energy from food, blood pressure regulation and modulation of mood.

In addition, the florets also contain dietary fibre and phytonutrients such as sulphoraphanes, glucosinolates, indole-3-carbinol and di-indolyl-methane (DIM), which are used in liver detoxification pathways, and balancing estrogen levels.

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How to Eat it?

It’s so pretty it seems a bit destructive to chop it up don’t you think?

The florets can be eaten raw as they are or with a dip such as hummus, just as you would ordinary broccoli or cauliflower. They can also be steamed or stir-fried in a little coconut oil or other high smoke-point oil such as rice bran oil. Add your own spices for a bit of flavour variation such as five-spice for an oriental feel or a thyme/oregano/basil medley to stay with a more Italian theme. Another idea is to steam the Romanesco whole and then drizzle with some pesto and sundried tomato paste, keeping the Italian flavours but making it a bit more ghoulish for Hallowe’en.

How do you eat yours? Let me know in the comments below…

Mel x

 

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/broccoli/#ixzz3HiSSln00

http://www.livestrong.com/article/547727-nutritional-value-of-broccoli-vs-cabbage/

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