Does a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale sound like your vegetable dream come true? Maybe so, if you’re someone who’s crazy for cruciferous vegetables and all the fiber and nutrients they pack in.
Meet Kalettes, a hybrid of the two that looks like a small head of purple kale. It arrived in U.S. supermarkets like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods this fall, and is being marketed as “a fresh fusion of sweet and nutty.”
It’s not the only new hybrid vegetable that we may be seeing a lot more of in 2015. Kendall College, a culinary and hospitality school in Chicago, predicts that broccoflower, broccolini and rainbow carrots may also leap from the specialty fringes to the mainstream produce aisle, owing to their terrific flavor and good looks.
Why now? People are moving away from the comfort food they fell back on during the recession, says Christopher Koetke, vice president of Kendall’s School of Culinary Arts. “People are starting to say OK, I can be a little more adventuresome.”
Kalettes (Brussels sprouts crossed with kale):
“Those are two vegetables that are incredibly popular, and chefs are cooking them constantly,” says Koetke. But Kalettes: The British company Tozer Seeds came up with the idea to develop the hybrid, which also goes by BrusselKale and Flower Sprout, 15 years ago. Tozer debuted it in the U.K. in 2010 before launching it in the U.S. in 2014.
The flavor of kalettes is more subtle than that of Brussels sprouts, making it tasty raw or sauteed, says Koetke. He recommends roasting or blanching, much like you would Brussels sprouts.
Broccoflower (broccoli crossed with cauliflower):
Broccoflower, a cauliflower with a pale green tint, was first grown in Holland and brought to the U.S. by Rick Antle of the family farm Tanimura and Antle in California. His farm coined the name Broccoflower and began distributing it in 1989.
The flavor is similar to a cauliflower but slightly sweeter. “Cook it and give it a whole smoke,” says Koetke, and “it develops a whole separate flavor profile.”
While it may not be an especially novel ingredient for chefs, the growing popularity of cauliflower may mean it’s ready to move from the farmers market into more supermarkets.
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