The caramelized spiraling tips of the Romanesco will amaze you and your guests. Grilling the Romanesco concentrates the flavor and contrasts with the lemon sauce’s bright acid and the toasted pine nuts’ rich fattiness.
Romanesco and other members of the broccoli family have powerful cancer-fighting phytochemicals called isothiocyanates. There is a growing body of research that suggests that the isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetables have a significant impact on lung cancer progression. In addition, these chemicals help inhibit cancerous tumor formation and protect “the liver, forestomach, mammary gland, esophagus, small intestine, colon and bladder” (Wu, Zhou, Xu). With this in mind, it makes sense to consume at least 1-2 servings of cruciferous vegetables a day.
Spiked with capers and Dijon, this easy to make lemon sauce can be served over grilled Romanesco, broccoli, or cauliflower.
1 head of Romanesco
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
1.5 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
¼ cup toasted pine nuts or pistachios
1. Preheat the grill to medium.
2. Sprinkle the tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt over the Romanesco.
3. Grill the Romanesco head for about 10 minutes, turning often to ensure even caramelization.
4. While the Romanesco is on the grill, prepare the sauce. Place the lemon zest, juice, capers, mustard, salt, and olive oil in a lidded jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.
5. Once the Romanesco is slightly caramelized and has cooked for 10 minutes, pull it from the grill and place it on a wood cutting board.
6. Cut the florets off of the main stalk. If you encounter a large floret, cut it in half.
7. Place the florets in a stainless steel bowl. Right before serving, put the pine nuts and lemon sauce in the bowl and mix the elements to ensure that the florets are covered in the tangy sauce.
8. Garnish the Romanesco with a pinch of finely chopped parsley and serve.
Micronutrient Information Center. “Isothiocyanates.” Linas Pauling Institue, Oregon State University, n.d. Accessed 12 Mar. 2016.
"Romanesco Broccoli, and Edible Fractal with Many Health Benefits." Herbcyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Accessed 12 Mar. 2016.
Wu, Xiang, Qing-Hua Zhou, and Ke Xu. "Are Isothiocyanates Potential Anti-cancer Drugs?" Acta Pharmacologica Sinica Acta Pharmacol Sin 30.5 (2009): 501-12. Accessed Accessed 12 Mar. 2016.