A cross between broccoli and cauliflower, this side dish is loaded with flavor and crispy browned bits. If Romanesco is unavailable, cauliflower or broccoli will work beautifully.
Are you looking for a new and improved side dish for your Thanksgiving table? Or maybe your anytime table could use some new life. My friend, you have come to the right place! This little skillet queen is going to make you a rockstar with your friends and family. And completely satisfy your taste buds! She’s got mythical creature like vibes, delicious layers of flavor, and the most scrumptious bits of crunch.
First, let me introduce you to this mythical veggie called romanesco. Imagine if broccoli and cauliflower decided they were better together and had a vegetable baby… that’s romanesco. It usually starts to show up on the scene during the Fall months.
Talk Nerdy to Me…
Romanesco goes by various names, including Romanesco broccoli, fractal broccoli, or Roman cauliflower. It’s actually considered to be a hybrid between cauliflower and broccoli. And it’s part of the Brassica genus (also known as cruciferous vegetables), just like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale.
In addition to all that scientific stuff, if you cut it right down the middle, it looks like a Christmas tree. Romanesco brings a bit milder flavor to the table than broccoli. However, if you can’t find this magical cruciferous creation at your local grocer or farmers market, no worries. I’ve used both cauliflower and broccoli in this recipe and they work superbly.
Make Some Veggie Magic…
First, searing your slabs of romanesco (or broccoli and cauliflower) steaks in a skillet, is your key to vegetable happiness. Next, you’ll pop that whole skillet in the oven to make sure the insides are tender and tasty. Once tender, the romanesco steaks come out and are put onto a platter. Now for the good part… You’ll brown some butter directly in that same skillet. Then toss in garlic, hazelnuts, and fresh sage to brown alongside that butter. Watch it all become a toasty, nutty, aromatic party in a skillet. Next, add a tiny bit of white wine vinegar to deglaze that pan like it was meant to be. Finally, pour that buttery sauce over those steaks, top with some fresh parsley and squeeze of lemon juice, and devour the whole thing!
Surprisingly, this is the side dish my family fights over. I’m hoping you’ll experience that same happy chaos at your table too!
Romanesc, or Broccoli, or Cauliflower with Browned Butter, Garlic, and Hazelnuts
- 1 head romanesco, or cauliflower, or broccoli sliced into steaks, small bits reserved
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- 2-4 Tbsp avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup skin on hazelnuts (can use pistachios or pine nuts) course chop
- 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- juice of half a lemon
- flakey sea salt for finishing
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to º400. Season cut steaks and bits with salt. Heat cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
- Add 2 tablespoons avocado oil to pan until glistening. Slide Romanesco steaks in, avoiding overlap, allow to cook undisturbed until brown underneath. About five minutes. Cook in batches if needed.
- Drizzle 1-2 more tablespoons oil over steaks and turn them over. Nestle reserved romanesco bits into empty spaces between steak.
- Transfer skillet to the oven for 15-18 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from oven and transfer steaks to platter.
- Return pan, with baby bits remaining, to medium high heat. Add butter, hazelnuts, sliced garlic, and sage leaves. Cook, stirring while butter foams, until everything is crispy and golden brown. About 4 minutes.
- Add vinegar and deglaze the pan stirring up any browned bits on the bottom. Spoon pan sauce over the romanesco steaks. Season with sea salt, squeeze of lemon juice, and parsley.
- Try substituting pine nuts or pistachios for hazelnuts and using any fresh herbs you have on hand! Topping with shaved Parmesan would not be a bad idea either.