Sunday, December 23, 2012

Roast Romanesco Cauliflower with Chistorras

A few weeks ago we picked up some chistorras at Despana and we had to figure out what to do with them.  We served them one night with cheese and crackers and then I had to think of another use for them.  Since chistorras remind me of chorizo I decided to use them like I would use chorizo and roast with vegetables.  We had a head of romanesco caluflower in the fridge so I figured why not roast the chistorras with the romanesco cauliflower.  So we tossed the cauliflower with the usual assortment of ingredients - evoo, crushed red pepper flakes, s&p - and roasted them halfway before throwing in the chistorras.  I had never tried romanesco cauliflower on its own before but it was a really interesting and eye-opening experience.  I took my first bite of the romanesco cauliflower and was instantly stumped.  It tasted like popcorn to me.  I can't explain it.  It had a very different texture from normal cauliflower (a little more delicate) and the taste was much sweeter and perhaps a touch nuttier.  The chistorras added a nice porky, spicy (not in the sense that it was hot, but more in the sense that it had a lot of flavor and spices) flavor, which gave the dish some real depth of flavor.  And the lemon added that hit of acid and brightness to balance out the richness of the chistorras and the sweetness of the romanesco cauliflower.  I thought it was really cool combination.  And I was intrigued enough by it that I couldn't resist picking up another head of romanesco cauliflower for further experimentation!

Recipe after the jump!

Roast Romanesco Cauliflower with Chistorras

one large Romanesco cauliflower, core removed and cauliflower broken up into florets

3 tbsp evoo
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

2 chistorras sausages (you can substitute chorizo), thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
juice from half of a lemon

Preheat the oven to 400°.

On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets, olive oil, salt, and pepper flakes together. Add several grinds of black pepper.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven, toss, and add chistorras.  Roast an additional 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is softened and golden brow in places.

Remove from the oven and squeeze the lemon over the cauliflower.

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