The past few years, as I’ve paid more attention to the seasonality of produce and followed several farmers’ markets on social media, the oddly beautiful yet somewhat alien-looking winter vegetable known as broccoflower, or sometimes Romanesco, has caught my eye.
This year, I saw some and impulsively decided to try it for the first time. This veggie is a hybrid (love child) of broccoli and cauliflower, and frankly, I think it tastes better than either of its “parents”. I know broccoflower isn’t all that common and has a very short season, but could we please, please have more of it?? It’s so good!
The texture is slightly softer than broccoli or cauliflower, and it lacks the bitterness of broccoli. It has an almost-sweet background note that is very tasty and pleasant. When cooked, the texture was soft but still with a nice bite to it. Matt and I were extremely pleased with my impulsive purchase, and kept raving over these little tartlets with each new bite. I hogged all the leftovers for myself, I’m afraid to say. I regret nothing.
These tartlets would be perfect for setting out at a cocktail party, but I can also say with some authority that they work just fine for dinner alongside a side salad. If you can get your hands on some broccoflower, don’t hesitate to pick it up. Enjoy!
Source: A Lot on Her Plate by Rosie Birkett
Uncooked pie dough for a one-crust pie
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 broccoflower (also called Romanesco cauliflower), cut into little florets, stalk discarded
3 large eggs
1 generous cup (5-6 oz.) shredded Gruyere cheese
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tbs heavy cream
6 tbs whole milk
Pinch of crushed red chile flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside.
Roll out the pie dough until it is ½-inch thick. Cut out rounds slightly bigger than the holes in the muffin tin. Line each hole with the pastry rounds so that it’s level with, or even slightly sticking out from, the top of each hole. If you need to patch the bottoms or sides with the scraps, that’s fine. No one will see it.
Chill the pastry for 15 minutes, then use a fork to prick the base of each. Line with pieces of parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Blind bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the parchment paper and dried beans/pie weights. Let cool while you make the filling.
Blanch the broccoflower florets in salted boiling water until they turn bright green – barely 1 minute. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the cheeses, cream, milk, and chile flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then whisk to combine. Divide the filling between the cooled pastry cups, leaving about ½ an inch from the top.
Arrange the broccoflower in the filling and grate over a little more Parmesan. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the custard is set and the pastry is golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.