I can’t make it through my farmers market these days without getting broccoli, cauliflower, or some exotic variant like Romanesco. (Especially the latter, because it looks so cool. And it’s a fractal.) Though we all probably have recurring nightmares of steam-table vegetables at school, all mushy, bland, and lifeless, I encourage you to (re)discover Romanesco broccoli via roasting. All you need are three ingredients: Romanesco broccoli, salt, and olive oil. Here’s the technique. (Don’t sweat it.)
- Preheat your over to 400 degrees.
- Slice the broccoli lengthwise into fairly thin slices. You’ll have florets (and bits of florets) everywhere as well as slices of stem; that’s OK. (Don’t discard the stem; it’s tasty.)
- Toss in olive oil to coat, put in a single layer on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt. Put the baking sheet on a lower rack in the oven.
- Check often; you’ll want to toss the pieces around to make sure they cook evenly. The florets and pieces of floret get nice and crispy and, when the root pieces are tender and slightly browned, you’re done!
Now while you are eating this straight from the oven (the sheet pan is your plate), what wine should you pour into your glass? Excellent question. I love Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, or even a good-quality, dry sparkling wine. I would say this goes for all salad greens and green vegetables; even asparagus. I’m still mystified that the old saw about asparagus being difficult (as if it were a petulant child) to pair with wine. It’s good with all the above whites, and I’d add a dry, unoaked Chenin Blanc to the mix.
Some of my favorites we have on hand:
- 2008 Gerard Bouley Sancerre $24.99
- 2008 Hiedler Grunder Veltliner Loss $15.99
- 2009 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc $13.99
- NV Adami Prosecco $14.99
And two more esoteric picks that are my all-time favorite whites in the $20ish range; both are Italian. The more I drink wine the more I love Italian whites, especially from the North.
- 2008 Abbazzia di Novacella Kerner $21.99
- 2009 Vietti Arneis $22.99
So what are your favorite wines to pair with vegetables? And are there any foods you find difficult to match with the right wine?