February 21, 2013

Romanesco Cauliflower with Parsnips and Raisins

When the less common vegetables show up at the farmer's markets or grocery stores, I find them hard to resist.  Colorful varieties of cauliflower including purple, gold, and Romanesco have been catching my eye lately. They are all beautiful, but the Romanesco variety which is called Romanesco Broccoli has to be one of the most stunning of any vegetable. There is just something so alluring about this plant with it's acid green color and spiraling pattern of conically shaped florets that makes it irresistible to someone like me.

I wanted to create a recipe that would highlight the beauty and flavor of these vegetables. This sweetness of the raisins and parsnips in this dish balance the slightly sulfurous and bitter flavors of the cauliflower. The addition of toasted almonds bring all of the flavors and textures together in perfect harmony. This dish is delicious served warm over with freshly prepared grains or as a component to a meal. It is ideal for entertaining as it works very well being served at room temperature and will hold well for hours.

Cauliflower and Romanesco broccoli like their fellow members of the cruciferous vegetable family contain compounds that may help prevent cancer. Cauliflower is not as rich in nutrients as it's more colorful cousins, but is still an excellent source of vitamins C and K, dietary fiber, and carotenoids.

Romanesco Cauliflower with Parsnips and Raisins

Serves 6-8

Please consider using ingredients that have been grown organically.

 
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 tablespoons raisins
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 head Romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  sea salt and pepper to taste
   

Warm the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and parsnips to the oil and cook, stirring every 2 minutes, for about 10 minutes or until the parsnips begin to be cooked through and caramelize slightly.

Add the ground coriander and cumin to the parsnips. Stir to combine.

Add the florets of both of the cauliflowers and the raisins to the pan. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir all of the ingredients together. Cover the pan with a lid for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender but not falling apart. For this dish it is preferable for the cauliflower to be slightly al dente.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the toasted almonds, a squeeze of lemon juice, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

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Categories: Fall & Winter, Vegetables
 

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