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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Your Seasonal Produce Guide: Broccoli Rabe

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM

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A weekly series on what to do with your farmers' market impulse buys and CSA box surprises.

Broccoli rabe (pronounced rob), is also referred to as rapini. This leafy member of the brassica family is a staple in southern Italian cooking. The green flowers look like miniature heads of broccoli, but they do not come from the same plant. The taste is earthy like broccoli, with a stronger, bitter flavor and a hint of spiciness.

How do I buy it? Look for dark green bunches with firm stems. Once purchased, they will only last a few days in your fridge, so avoid those that have already started to wilt.

How do I eat it? Broccoli rabe doesn't need to be cooked very long. It can be sauteed quickly in oil with and garlic and served as a side dish. The flavor also lends well to most pasta dishes.

To make a broccoli rabe salad: trim the stems and cut into 1-inch pieces. Blanch (toss in salted boiling water) for one minute. Shock (chill in ice-cold water) to stop the cooking process. Drain and bring to room temperature. Toss with olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, chili flakes, and sea salt.

Marla Simon is a San Francisco-based chef, food stylist, and food writer. Follow her on twitter at @Marla_Simon Follow us at: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
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