My Romanesco Obsession

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Vegetables | 2 comments


Few garden vegetables enchant me like the Romanesco.  Maybe the chartreuse color lures me to it.  Neither a cauliflower nor broccoli—this beauty is an example of a mathematical phenomenon called Fibonacci Fractal in the natural world. The spires create a pattern that endlessly mimics itself.

The Divine Proportion

As the season winds down from late spring to summer in a heartfelt Cali drought—I tear off like a guided missile to buy one every Saturday.








This week the emperor weighed in at nearly 3 pounds—providing two glorious renditions of a song.








We all love ‘one pot wonders’; here is my tune of ‘one skillet wonders’.  Forget that it was 105 degrees in the kitchen with 40 mph winds tossing patio furniture over fences; I pressed on.








Saute a rather large shallot with garlic in olive oil in a well-oiled cast iron skillet.








Toss the fractal florets with the shallot and garlic.








Combine custard ingredients and pour it over the turrets in the skillet.








Top with shards of Parmesan cheese before baking the gratin in the oven until the veggie points are golden and








the melting cheeses bubbling.















Mellow and nutty, soothing and sublime—and lightened up too-- if you cannot find my Romanesco obsession use cauliflower, broccoli, or a combination of both.

Romanesco and Swiss Gratin


  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 large shallots, minced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6-8 cups Romanesco florets (24 ounces)
  • 1 ½ cups 2% low-fat milk
  • 1 ½ cups Jarlsberg Light cheese, shredded
  • 3-4 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3-4 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray the bottom and sides of a cast iron skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the bottom of the pan; sauté minced shallot for a minute or two before adding garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir florets into the skillet with shallot and garlic. Drizzle with remaining oil and toss well.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together, milk, Swiss cheese, Dijon, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, nutmeg, and eggs. Pour milk and cheese mixture over florets in the skillet; top with Parmesan cheese. Bake the gratin 30-35 minutes until top is golden and vegetables are tender. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  3. Serves 6
  4. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  5. All Rights Reserved





  1. 5-2-2014

    Looks like another winner, Peggy! 🙂

  2. 5-2-2014


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