What it means

Here's what it doesn't mean: An intricately textured brassica. That visually striking plant, sometimes called broccoflower, is known as Romanesca or Romanesco. Somewhere, there's a culinary student with a smart mnemonic for remembering the difference.

Of course, it's hard to forget romesco once you've had it. The garlicky Catalan sauce, which draws its distinctive sunset color from roasted red peppers, is typically made with tomatoes, almonds, hazelnuts and olive oil, and thickened with stale bread. Red wine vinegar, chiles and paprika are common additions.

Although romesco is the traditional dipping sauce for grilled spring onions, as Claudia Roden writes in her authoritative "The Food of Spain," romesco "accompanies all kind of dishes." Which, confusingly, means you could have your Romanesco with romesco.

Where we saw it

The Grocery (Roasted Triggerfish, Braised Kale, Radish, Pumpkin Romesco, Vermouth Broth , $21)

Where else you can try it

Barsa serves grilled leeks with romesco and sea salt; Warehouse offers a snacky spread trio with romesco, hummus and edamame dip; and Vincent Chicco's uses romesco to sauce its Atlantic cod.

Where to buy it

Romesco is jarred by companies including Matiz; it's fairly easy to find in gourmet shops and upscale groceries.

Hanna Raskin