Last year I started buying organic vegetables from a local farmer. The reason why I chose this particular one over all the others was his veggie-abstract sense of humor. To give you an example, he announced the upcoming romanesco season as the “arrival of psychedelic cauliflower brother”. Who wouldn’t go with that, right?
Romanesco’s appearances might put it in the same basket with broccoli and cauliflower, but it has a slightly different “personality”. It’s texture is far more crunchy and it has an amazingly delicate, yet nutty flavor. As we are currently transitioning from Winter to Spring, I was craving some quick salad recipe that would combine these both seasons. Black lentils and roasted hazelnuts remind my tastebuds of the snowy weather, and the raw romanesco prepares me for the fresh and seasonal vegetables and fruits yet to come.
The secret star here, however, are dried golden berries, also known as Inca berries or amour en cage (“love in cage” in French) – a superfood grown in Peru and Ecuador. These are a great alternative to raisins and cranberries, if you’re looking for a defining twist to your salad. With a balanced mix of sweetness and sourness, they make it refreshing and complete.
Cook lentils until soft - it should take about 25-30 minutes (check that they don’t need soaking before). It
Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10-15 min in 180 °C. Cool down and put in a towel. Rub them back and forth until the skin peels off and chop them with knife (or use mortar and pestle if you have one).
In the meantime, wash romanesco heads and cut the florets off from the stem. Cut the onions in half rings. Place all ingredients in a bowl and add the golden berries.
Mix the vinaigrette and combine with the rest. Add more salt or spiciness to taste.