Saturday, September 29, 2007


I bought Romanesco Brocoli at the market without ever thinking about what I would do with it. I have never seen it used it the kitchens I have worked in, and only on a single menu. Although it is mentioned in guidebooks it’s not with the same reverence or commonality of Spinach or Porcini. But how could I resist. I am in Roma (its origin Province) AND trying to impress a guest. Romanesco Brocoli is picture perfect; a fractal self-similar pale green vegetable whose texture and perfume resembles Cauliflower.

I decided to make a Frittata; a skill I felt confident in since practicing my “flip” on the farm. For only two people, I didn’t have the same fear I did for 50! To be clear, the “flip” (as only I call it) is when you use a large lid to help flip a frittata, repeatedly. The goal is to have an even end-result; the thing folks mess up most even with the aid of an oven. It’s all in the wrist…

I cut off the base of the vegetable, and carefully separated its inner replicas; each mini-head of Broccoli exquisitely similar to that which came before. First I steamed them (for 3 mins) and then sautéed them with Olive Oil, Garlic, a single Pepperoncino, Salt and Black Olives. I decided to keep them firm and with a crunch, not only because of my personal distaste for overcooked vegetables (not shared by my fellow Romans), but also to dignify the ingredient in a dish that often loses its central theme in its preparation.

Once cooled, I added the mixture to 6 beaten eggs and a healthy handful (meaning more than you would think) of finely grated Parmesean. When the mixture hit the pan, I moved around the ingredients to unify the dish (even out its arrangement) and began to “flip”, a total of 6 times. The most important thing to bear in mind when making a Frittata is that the egg mixture must cover the ingredients. It is not an Omelet, so think equal parts.

It was and is a beauty! I served a slice for breakfast and have leftovers which will inform a cold antipasti shortly.

1 comment:

basscakes said...

Mike I totally love reading your blog. I remember going out to an Italian place for a birthday dinner years ago in Manhattan and you were so stoked. I had no idea what I was witnessing at the time. Never doubt pursuing your passions.