Roasted Romanesco with Marcona Almonds (Cauliflower works too!)

photography Rebecca Firth, Displaced Housewife

Romanesco looks like it was planted by an alien or the Conehead family from Saturday Night Live.  It it a pointy, sharp looking version of cauliflower.  It is sold at Farmer's Markets and specialty food markets.  If you can't find it, colored cauliflower or traditional white cauliflower are equally delicious in this recipe.  I love using the three different colors because it looks so beautiful after it is cooked. 

You have two options for making this dish:  in a roasted pan in the oven or a large cast-iron pan on the stove.  Both work equally well. However, the oven roasted version requires less maintenance; you can just throw the romanesco in the oven and then work on something else.

For those of you who think you are not a cauliflower fan, this recipe will change your mind.  When cauliflower is roasted it takes on a nutty, yummy taste that is addictive.  This is another one of those recipes that everyone asks for the minute after they taste the dish.  And it is so easy.  I even like it cold the next day.    

Some people like to chop their cauliflower up with a knife and others like to tear it with their hands.


Serves 4

6 cups romanesco pieces (Stems and core removed, tops torn or chopped.  If you are using cauliflower one head will equal six cups)
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional 2 tablespoons when you stir it halfway through cooking
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, optional

1/2 cup marcona almonds, chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins, optional

Ricotta Salata cheese or freshly grated Parmesan, optional

Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Put a half-sheet tray in the hot oven for five minutes to get the pan super hot.

While the pan is heating, toss the romanesco (or cauliflower) with the olive oil and salt in a large bowl.

Pull the hot tray out of the oven and pour the romanesco onto the pan.  It should make a sizzling sound when you do this.

Let it cook for 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven, drizzle an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil while stirring and tossing the romanesco.  Shake the pan to evenly distribute everything. 

Cook for another 10 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the raisins and chopped Marcona almonds.  Again, shake the pan to evenly distribute all the ingredients.  (You'll want to cook it longer than you initially think because that extra cooking enables it go from good to nutty, brown, and delicious.  Just be sure to only add the almonds near the end because burned nuts taste terrible.)

I like it served just like this, but you can also top it with freshly grated Parmesan, Tuscan cheese, or firm Ricotta Salata. 

Maili's Notes:  I buy heavy duty half-sheet trays at Smart & Final.  You can also buy them at Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table, or


This looks so delicious!! We live in the Nashville TN area so I will have to check and see if I can find this. If not we love cauliflower and I will use it. I am really excited to try this recipe.

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