Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In Season: Romanesco

Early summer is the time to find sweet young things like tiny baby zucchini and yellow squashes, terrific salad mixes of young greens and bunches of finger-length baby carrots. But when I saw these miniature heads of romanesco, I was smitten.

A member of the Brassica oleracea family and related to kale, broccoli and cauliflower, it has a stunning chartreuse color that doesn't change when it's cooked, and is a stunner on a platter of raw vegetables. Plus it gives you the opportunity to sound smart when you mention that it's a natural example of fractal geometry as you dunk it into a bowl of sundried tomato dip.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Dip

4 oz. dried sundried tomatoes
1 1/2 c. boiling water
3 lg. cloves garlic
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3-1/2 c. olive oil
2/3 c. parmesan
8 oz. cream cheese

Put the sundried tomatoes in a heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling water over it to reconstitute the tomatoes. When it cools, drain off the water and put the tomatoes in a food processor with the garlic, pine nuts and salt. With the processor running, drizzle in only enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Add the cream cheese and process till completely incorporated. Adjust seasonings and serve.

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