Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Arabesque - Romanesque!

Romanesco con Bulgur Turco, Pancetta, Sumac, Uvetta, Peperoncino & Semi di Finocchio
Romanesco with Turkish Bulgur, Bacon, Sumac, Raisins, Chili & Fennel Seeds


Oh, I really got lucky with this combination, dear readers- and how! And no, you can not do without that little bit of bacon, my vegan, vegetarian and Muslim friends- it simply has to be! This was inspired and improvised perfection, dare I say it! And indeed, this time, I do!

Sweet raisins, sour and tangy sumac, spicy chili flakes and savory, delicious bacon... how could that poor Romanesco cauliflower and that handful of Turkish bulgur do anything BUT end up tasting delicious after being cooked together? That's right... they couldn't!


Apart from sometimes being a little heavy on the digestion and a little light on a strong flavor of its own, Romanesco is one of those vegetables we love to buy- or at least love to think of buying, simply because of its wonderful appearance- we may as well admit it! And the resulting dishes are usually pleasant enough... but if we are brutally honest... often rather underwhelming to say the least. But not this dish!


For this dish, I needed 1 small Romanesco- just the size of a large grapefruit and perfect for a single serving, 1 good cup of Turkish bulgur (the kind with the toasted vermicelli mixed-in), a handful each of bacon and raisins, 1 Spring onion. 1 tablespoon of sumac, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds and 1 teaspoon of chili flakes.


I prepared mine in my Tagine, although a regular saucepan would also work just fine of course... but still, there is something about the way that a Tagine traps the steam and cooks so evenly and perfectly... and that makes it so much more rewarding! So people- if you have got a Tagine... go grab it and let's get busy together!


First things first- cut the Romanesco into quarters and then simply using one diagonal cut, remove the main stalk and then separate the individual little florettes. Cut the larger ones in half, so that you have nice, pleasant bite-sized pieces.


Next, start the finely chopped bacon, sliced Spring onion and fennel seed sizzling in the Tagine.


2-3 minutes later, add the Romanesco, add a good pinch of salt, cover with boiling water, reduce the heat to a slow simmer, put on the lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes.


After that time, add the bulgur, the raisins, a teaspoon of sumac and stir everything together well, so that the bulgur becomes nice and moist. Then return the lid and allow to steam on for a further 10 minutes.


Beneath that lid, trapped in the steam-bath within, is a wonderful meal- just waiting to be enjoyed! Serve piping hot and sprinkle with a little extra chili and sumac to taste... you're going to love it!


You will never think of Romanesco as so boring again- and so wonderful to be able to make something so great out of it without having to add any extra butter, cream or anything unnecessary like that- just great spice, savory bacon and those sweet raisins to add balance- perfect! And with that bit of added bulgur, a complete meal in itself! make this for yourselves and enjoy! I'm sure you will!


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