Ingredients of the week: banana and romanesco

Explore the fruit and veg aisles of Spinneys and you’ll spot two very different ingredients

BANANA

Where can I find it?

Everywhere: fitting snugly in your palm, in lunchboxes, scattered over morning bowls of porridge and smushed on babies’ high chairs.

How to enjoy

Eat au naturel, as nature intended, or use in recipes. Blend frozen bananas into an instant ice cream, get savvy with banana bread or indulge in honey-grilled bananas.

Nutrition

Peel back that skin and you’ll find a broad range of health benefits – loads of fibre, not much fat and plenty of vitamins.

Sweet talk

Common belief is that bananas with brown spots are past their best. But they actually get better with age and these spots signal they are at their ripest, sweetest stage.


ROMANESCO

What is it?

This depends on where you’re asking. In Italy, they’ll tell you romanesco is a cauliflower; in France, they’ll say it’s a broccoli. As its origins are firmly in Italy, for argument’s sake, we’re calling it cauliflower. And the truth is, even though its flavour falls between cauli and broccoli, it lands a little closer to the cauliflower side.

Where can I find it?

Back in the 16th century, you could find it in kitchens all over Italy. But in the years since, you’d have struggled to see it anywhere. Pushed to the back of the shelf by broccoli, cabbage and kale, romanesco has only recently gone through a mini renaissance and, from this month, is in store at Spinneys.

What does it look like?

Green. Not just any old green, but the brightest green you’ve ever seen. Its spiralling florets perk up plates in an instant and are mesmerising and cool enough in appearance to convince children that yes, this really is a vegetable they will love to eat.

How to enjoy

Milder in flavour than common cauliflower, romanesco needs a little lift to shine. Try a romanesco salad brought to life by blue cheese and pecans; roast a whole head until the tips char and draw out lovely smoky and nutty notes; send a nod in the direction of romanesco’s roots with pasta or pull a modern-day spin on a traditional Easter lunch by serving roast lamb with a romanesco purée.

Romanesco is packed with great sources of nutrition. Full of vitamin C, iron and antioxidants, it’s also a good protein replacement.