Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Romanseco Broccoli

I'm not generally a shallow person, but I can be persuaded to buy certain foods based on how much they appeal to me visually (Prestat chocolates is a good case in point). At my humble weekend food market, I had a stunning little green number catch my eye, labeled as a romanseco broccoli. I had no ambition other than to own it and photograph it, so I bought it and figured I'd put together plans on how to cook it later.


Part of the reason it caught my eye, I will confess, is because it immediatly made my mind shout "Fibonacci sequence!". The fibonacci sequence is a mathematical sequence of numbers that occurs in nature in many instances - in the swirl of pine cones or sunflower seeds, in the shell of a nautilus, in patterns of reproduction - and also makes an appearance in architecture (where it's dubbed 'the golden ratio') to produce some of our more eye-pleasing buildings (like the Pantheon). I remember hearing about this at 16 in my calculus math class, and thinking it was the first interesting thing I had been told during the year - that a series of numbers that never altered wasn't just produced by mathematicians for fun adding purposes but could be seen in nature and was physically pleasing to boot. Unfortunately the class moved on and we had to begin solving equations and things, and I returned to my stupor, but the stunning notion of the Fibonacci sequence has stayed with me - and excited me - ever since.

So I bought my vegetable for superficial reasons (though perhaps not shallow ones, if it made me dig into the recesses of my mathematical mind), and thoroughly enjoyed photographing it and looking and how many fractal levels the little green nubs went down to. I gave it a nice sending off of cooking it au gratin, and enjoyed the eating of it too (mainly because I could coo over each stem and its bizarre yet beautiful repition). It did, indeed, taste like broccoli mixed with a touch of cauliflower (covered in cheese). But surely you wouldn't buy a romanesco just for its taste, would you?

5 comments:

Chris said...

Lovely photos - I will definitely have to find some myself. I once made "broccoli cheese" because I accidentally bought broccoli instead of cauliflower. This seems like the perfect candidate for a repeat meal!

Julie said...

I've seen these in the store and they are facinating.

Mark said...

These are highly seasonal - I remember getting one back when I had an organic box delivered. I find them more cauliflowery than broccoli-ey. But yes, I was also astounded by the beauty of them!

When I see them at Borough Market, I know it's time to start planning Christmas Dinner...

Angel said...

I've never seen anything like that in the store. I might need to search out some markets it looks so interesting.
Plus broccoli and cauliflowers are my favorite vegis so something that tastes like both woohoo!

maninas: food matters said...

looooove the photos!