Reinforced Romanesco

30 minutes prep 10 minutes active cooking 40 minutes total
Makes 6 - 8 servings

In Naples a version of this salad, called insalata rinforzata, is often made for Christmas Eve and “reinforced” over the next week...

with more cauliflower and the addition of pantry staples like olives, capers, and anchovies.

Use the recipe as a guide but feel free to call in your own reinforcements, like hard-boiled eggs, garbanzo beans, stale bread cubes, cubes of cured salami or ham, marinated artichoke hearts, or other fresh herbs.

What You'll Need


For the shopping list

  • 1 head Romanesco Broccoli
  • 1/2 cup Goat Horn Peppers in Oil
  • 1/2 cup of black, green or mixed olives, pitted
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 Celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of Fresh Mint or Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of Golden Raisins
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped

From our shop

2 tablespoons of  Capers in Sea Salt
$20.00– Pantelleria - Sicily
3-4  White Boquerones
$17.00– San Sebastian - Spain
2 tablespoons of  Trio Red Wine Vinegar
$15.00– Napa - California
Out of stock

To taste  Madre Terra
$25.00– Sicily - Italy
To taste  Italian Fine Sea Salt
$7.00– Trapani - Sicily


From the kitchen

  • 1 Stock Pot (big enough to boil head of romanesco)
  • 1 Chefs Knife
  • 1 Pairing Knife
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons

"The bright green, fractal cones of romanesco broccoli look like something from Dr. Suess,

and I like to preserve the shapes when I serve this striking member of the cabbage family. It's often called a cauliflower, but the flavor is a bit more delicate."

~ Jim Dixon, founder Wellspent and Real Good Food

What you'll have to do

Step 1

Soak the capers in cold water for 15 minutes, then drain.

Step 2

Drop the whole head of romanesco into a pot of well-salted boiling water, and remove it after 3 minutes (don’t wait for the water to return to a boil to start timing). Let it cool enough to handle, then use the tip of a small knife to cut off the Fibonacci-numbered florets. Set them aside while you chop the stem and core into smallish, bite-sized pieces.

Step 3

Combine the chopped romanesco with the other ingredients, taste and add salt as needed. While you can eat the salad right away, it’ll be better if allowed to rest for at least an hour.

Step 4

I think this tastes best at room temperature, and it lasts for days, especially with reinforcements.

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