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I’m A Space Cadet, Plus Some Romanesco Cauliflower

romanesco cauliflower

Oh my GOD, you guys. I am so out to lunch. Tonight I burned my favorite (but thankfully inexpensive) little stand-by pan, the 8″ omelet pan I use all the time, I mean all all all the time*. I got off the plane, got picked up by Mister Certain Someone and his dog, came home, and had to eat something. So I fried up some sausage and steamed some greens (that were somehow still good, after hanging around in the crisper drawer for I don’t know how long and don’t want to know and probably shouldn’t even be admitting this), while also adoring the cat, going through the mail, catching up on Internetty stuff, blogging, and watching TV. A little while – ok FINE, quite a while later – I’m on the couch, wondering why the smell of sausage is still so intense and why it’s still pretty smoky in the house and, no wait, why the house is filling up with smoke, HOLY CRAP I LEFT THE BURNER ON UNDER THE EMPTY PAN. Which meant the little cribbly bits in the pan and the wee smears of grease burnt up all nice and fused to the pan, making it a useful pan no more!

Thankfully the flame was low enough that there was no other damage besides the pan. Also, it’s good to know I am at least with-it enough to figure out what’s going on before it gets smoky enough in my house to make the smoke alarm go off. Let this be a lesson to us all: No cooking when overly tired, and less multi-tasking when cooking. See America, you need more rest and you need to SLOW DOWN. I am living proof of that. Rush, rush, rush, and all the things you don’t pay attention to burn down.

Wow, that’s deeper than I meant it to be.

romanesco cauliflower

So right, about that cauliflower! (How’s that for a totally fantastic segue?) On Saturday, my parents and I went to the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, and I was entranced by the Romanesco cauliflower. Some people like to call it fractal cauliflower, others (like my mother and apparently my grandmother) call it “alien sex organs.” If I have not totally turned you off eating it now, you should go buy some immediately, because it is beautiful and fascinating and fun and also tasty.

There are probably a million and one fancy ways to cook it. I wanted to roast it and make it all caramelly, but by the time dinner rolled around that would have taken too long, and I was hongry. So I did a quick and easy version of it one night, and it was tangy and sparkly, tender to the tooth but still firm. It’s a perfect “o noes, I have IBS and I better eat more veggies today but they take so long to cook whatever shall I do!” recipe. Go on and get some. Plus I hear alien sex organs are good for the digestive system.

cooked cauliflower

Sautéed Romanesco Cauliflower

1 large head Romanesco cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar

1. Remove the tough bottom stem from the cauliflower, and cut it vertically into four quarters. Cut the quarters into slices 1/2″ thick. The cauliflower will crumble, and you may want to cut some of the florets into smaller pieces. Cut the center core into small chunks as well.

2. Heat a pan with about 1/2″ water and place the cauliflower into a steamer basket. When the water boils, place the steamer basket into the pot and cover, steaming until the cauliflower is just tender, about 4-5 minutes.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steamed cauliflower and sauté until the cauliflower begins to brown. Add the Herbes de Provence, salt, pepper, and the vinegar (you may want to adjust the vinegar depending on how vinegary you like your food – start with less and work up, if you prefer). Sauté another minute or two more, until the cauliflower is nice and brown on the edges.

Serves 2.

*Why is it that the little cheapie items are always the ones I use the most? I have this one knife that I must have bought at a big grocery store, some really basic knife, maybe 4 or 4 1/2″? (I should measure it but that would require effort and right now I have to hurry so I can post this, so maybe I’ll be more specific later.) It’s just this basic $5 knife, larger than a paring knife but way smaller than a big serious knife, and I use it for everything. Even when I know damn well I should bust out the big guns and do some chopping, I’ll lazily slice away using my favorite one, a) because it’s always out and b) because it’s easy. Same with that little pan. Maybe I just like little utensils. I prefer teaspoons over soup spoons. Does anyone know where I’m going with this paragraph?

Today in Oh Hey Great: ok, you know what

2 Responses to “I’m A Space Cadet, Plus Some Romanesco Cauliflower


  • mary
    December 4th, 2007 21:34
    1

    that is by far the coolest looking vegetable I have ever seen….alien sex organs pretty much sums it up!

  • fogggyrl
    December 18th, 2008 00:18
    2

    Alien Sex Organs- I love it! They are tasty. Thanks for the recipe and entertaining blog. I like Romanesco steamed too. It’s super yummy and looks very cool.

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