Romanesco with Green Olives and Capers
The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook
Green, spiky-spired romanesco is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. Growers Richard Sager of Two Peas in a Pod and Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms like its nutty taste that sweetens with cold growing nights. Boiling the garlic with the romanesco flavors the florets and tames the garlic for the dressing (which is also great over steamed or boiled potatoes). This dish is good hot or at room temperature, as a side or as part of an antipasto platter (add more lemon and garlic and marinate for a couple of hours or overnight). I like to use brined green olives from Adams Olive Ranch here.
- 1 large or 2 medium heads romanesco or cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
- 3/4 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 4 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
1Cut the romanesco into small florets and soak in ice water to cover for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop together the olives, capers, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, and the lemon zest. In a small pot, heat the oil and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat until hot. Remove from the heat and stir in the olive mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the lemon juice. Set aside.
2Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drain the romanesco, drop it into the boiling water with the garlic cloves, and cook the florets until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well. Chop the cooked garlic with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, place in a large bowl, add the florets and olive-caper dressing, and toss well. Taste and adjust with salt, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice. If serving at room temperature, adjust seasoning again before serving.
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