While perusing the weekly farmer’s market on 48th and 2nd Ave, I stumbled across this stunning piece of vegetable — Romanesca cauliflower.
Bringing it home to the office resulted in a cacophony of opposing exclamations. Someone declared how ugly it was, while our top Fresh Frum the Kitchen contributor declared there was no greater proof of a divine design in nature.
This of course immediately led to speculation on whether this piece of vegetable was natural or a genetically-modified marketing ploy. Hybrid? Cross-bred? Genetically tinkered? Did it even matter?
Brocolli and cauliflower shapes are fractals, where the structure of the whole is a mirror of the parts. (Check the Magen David example below.)
A brief Google search did not reveal romanescas gracing the pages of anti-GMO web sites, only a few blog posts equally full of wonder.
From their collective advice: Romanesca is available only briefly — from September through November. Choose a firm head with crisp leaves. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Romanesca can be cooked in any fashion suitable for regular cauliflower. It makes beautiful crudites, a traditional French appetizer comprised of grated raw vegetables soaked in a vinaigrette, and is also stunning cooked whole.