A detour from my usual stops at last week's Farmers Market put me in the path of Ron Rodeghiero, owner of the Chico Spice Company. Standing proudly behind his jars of spice blends, his enthusiasm for his product is almost fanatical. He boasts his commitment to sourcing quality products for every aspect of his business – from the purest spices without preservatives or additives, to the tall glass display bottles which he still buys from Italy (not from China, he notes).
Rodeghiero comes off as a “mad chef,” born from a line of chefs and restaurateurs with more culinary knowledge in his mind than he knows what to do with, and too much to say all at once.
When asked if he had any great recipes that he'd like to share, he turned the question into a challenge.
“Tell me what you want to cook, and I'll tell you how.” It seemed that there was no limit to what he would share, once his creativity was sparked.
I walked through the market and scrutinized the produce stands for a muse. My pick: Romanesco broccoli. A brassica so spectacular in form that preparing it is always intimidating – for fear of disrupting the perfect fractals with an imperfect approach on the stove. Ron needed a moment to think when I informed him of his culinary subject. While he rubbed his cheek and walked around the booth, I could hear the tinkering of dishes in his mind's laboratory. This is what he came up with:
Romanesco Broccoli Recipe, from Chico Spice Company
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Ascolano variety (popular for it's smooth flavor)
Broccoli cut into desired shape
Garlic Sea Salt blend from Chico Spice Company
Put a little olive oil in the skillet, over medium heat
Add broccoli and saute until bright in color, but don't let it get mushy.
When it's almost done cooking, dust with Garlic Sea Salt and stir constantly to keep spice from sticking to the skillet.
If you're looking for a recipe or a simple & delicious custom blend to spice up veggies, meat or seafood, stop by and say hi to Ron. He has really good prices on spices and the advice is free. You will certainly get more than you paid for.
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