Sometimes when I rely on the local Wal-Mart, I am forced to make creative compromises. Often times they turn out better. Wal-Mart didn’t have the prosciutto or goat cheese I craved, but thin bacon and the Mexican queso fresco stepped in for a less chalky flavor. (Maybe God does have a place for processed cheese?) This low-carb side dish was front and center at the dinner table tonight. I’ll never question my CSA or the Romanesco ever again.
I head of Romanesco (a late harvest broccoli hybrid)
6 strips of bacon, baked and crumbled
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
¼ cup “La Morenta” Queso Fresco (available at OC Wal-Marts)
2 Tbsp. Wegmans Basting Oil
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
½ tsp coarse black pepper
Bake and crumble six strips of thin bacon and set aside.
Trim one head of Romanesco. Steam in 1 inch of water in a covered pot for 15 minutes. Drain and keep in hot pot for an additional 10 minutes. Drain again.
In small fry pan, swirl 2 Tbsp. of Wegmans Basting Oil. Melt 2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter. Caramelize onion on low heat for about twenty minutes. Remove from oil with slotted spoon. Add pressed garlic to oil and last 2 Tbsp. of unsalted butter and sauté until fragrant. Add 1 cup heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Add heat and stir until bubbly. Add 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and queso fresco. Add ½ tsp. of coarse black pepper. Heat until thickened, about five minutes.
Take an 8’ x 8’ baking dish and butter. Layer Romanesco, then caramelized onion, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and cheese mixture. Top with bacon and an additional handful of sharp cheddar.
Bake at 350’ for 15 minutes.