I haven’t said much of late about much of anything, but especially not about the Dane County Farmer’s Market–but I don’t want you to think this is because we haven’t been going.  Yes, it’s moved indoors, and no, they don’t sell spinach and cheese empanadas or market buns or breakfast pasties at the indoor site (they do have Cafe Fair coffee though, which we enjoy so much we were on the news about it*).  But they do sell the many sturdy vegetables that are hanging in there this balmy November, plus apples, pears, popcorn, meats of all sorts, cheese (always, always cheese) and some lovely looking plants.  This being Madison, it is all accompanied by minstrels with lutes.  It is bustling and nosy and completely without order and I really like it.

That is where I discovered this:

Do you eat it, or does IT EAT YOU???

It’s called Romanesco Broccoli.  (Follow link for much more awesome photo.)  I had never seen it in my life, but being a devoted opponent of broccoli in whatever form, I was immediately against it in principle as well as in practice.  Josh wanted to bring it home. And it was his turn to chose a vegetable.  Next thing I know there was a fractal in my market bag.

I hid it in the far back of the crisper drawer where it couldn’t hurt anyone.  I covered it up with leafy greens and celery and figured we could pretend the whole thing had never happened.  But Josh kept asking.  Where’s the romanesco broccoli?  When are we eating the romanesco broccoli?


Finally last night I took a knife to the damn thing.  The florets went into a simmering pot of water for five minutes, then into a lightly oiled saute pan over high heat with hot pepper flakes and salt for three or four minutes, until some brownness appeared.  I served it up with some RP’s fresh pasta and panko-fied fish.  Here’s how it looked:

At this point I had no choice but to eat it.

Guess what?  It tastes awesome.  Nothing like broccoli with its hairy spores roughing up the inside of your mouth and filling your nose with its noxious odor.  Milder, like cauliflower, only with some actual flavor.  I daresay it would be a grand Thanksgiving side, being easy to prepare outside of an oven and having some actual nutritional value.

Myself, I’m going to buy it all up at the next market, eat it every day for a week, and call that my total broccoli intake for the next 12 months.

PS:  If you scroll back up to the picture of the uncooked broccoli, you’ll see in the background a few important kitchen implements we keep always at the ready at our house.  They are, in order from left to right, salt, pepper, vitamins, goblin bottle, and novelty exploding snake can.

It's best to keep them near water.

(It’s a bottle of goblins, exactly as it sounds.)

*Not that being on the news bears mentioning, as it happens to us so often we are becoming Minor Local Celebrities.