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Photo: Aya Brackett; Styling: Amy Wilson  

Broccoli Romanesco with Green Herb Sauce

Whorled broccoli romanesco is an exotic treat, yet it's very easy to prepare--just steam until tender. If you can't find small heads, just break a full-grown head into florets (cauliflower works too). This recipe is adapted from one in Vegetable Literacy (Ten Speed Press, 2013), by Deborah Madison.

Sunset NOVEMBER 2013

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8 (3/4 cup sauce)
  • Total:50 Minutes


  • 6 to 8 baby heads broccoli romanesco*; or 1 full-size head or 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brined capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot (about 1 medium)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper


1. Peel only toughest outer leaves from broccoli romanesco, leaving tender inner ones attached. Steam broccoli in a steamer basket over simmering water, covered, until tender to the core when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Put in a serving dish.

2. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spoon about half the green herb sauce over broccoli and turn gently to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature, with extra sauce on the side.

*Find at farmers' markets in fall and winter, and increasingly at well-stocked grocery stores.

Make ahead: Sauce, up to 1 day, chilled (add lemon juice at the last minute, or it will dull the sauce's color). Broccoli romanesco may be steamed a few hours ahead; let sit, loosely covered, at room temp (if chilled overnight in a container, it gets sulfurous).

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving with 1 Tbsp. extra sauce.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 143
  • Calories from fat: 85%
  • Protein: 1.8g
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.8g
  • Fiber: 1.7g
  • Sodium: 84mg
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg

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Broccoli Romanesco with Green Herb Sauce recipe