Broccoflower is a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, but looks like the former. It is a striking chartreuse and here, in a dish from Basilicata, it is cooked whole: the leaves are removed and a cross is cut in the bottom so that heat can penetrate and cook the central core. The pot is tightly covered and the broccoflower, along with a handful of pitted olives and a sliced onion, is left to braise over very low heat with little moisture. As it cooks, it softens and “sits down.”
Remove the outer leaves from the broccoflower. Turn it stem end up and, using a small, sharp knife, cut a deep cross in the bottom of the central stem.
In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the broccoflower, stem side down, and the olives, and then pour in water to a depth of
Serve the broccoflower directly from the pan, using a large spoon and being sure to include some olives and onion in each portion. Alternatively, carefully transfer the broccoflower to a serving bowl and spoon the olives and onion on top.
© 2004 Joyce Goldstein. All rights reserved.