Rapini Fv Septemer 2009
Broccoli Rabe, Italian broccoli, rabe, rape, rapini, broccoletti, or friarielli. Ever heard of it? Ever known a vegetable with more aliases? Cousin to cabbage and califlower, this member of the prolific mustard clan has flavorful leaves and clusters of tiny, broccoli like buds. It is a cruciferous vegetable with all the good things that implies: antioxidants (cancer fighters), high in fiber and rich in vitamins A, C, K.
Rich in minerals calcium, potassium and iron. Let’s hear it for Healthy Vegetables!
I found it locally as Rapini and Aspersion – billed as “baby broccoli” – long thin stems with little heads – I used a saute/steam method, it was wonderful, still crisp but fork tender.
According to Wiki, the vegetable probably descends from a wild herb, a relative of the turnip, that grew either in China or the Mediterranean region. It is similar in shape to the Chinese Brassica oleracea cultivar called kai-lan.
Rapini is now grown throughout the world. Rapini is available all year long, but its peak season is fall to spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Rapini is commonly used in traditional Barese and southern Italian cuisine.
The italians do love this vegetable. It can be bitter if not prepared correctly. Eaten young it can be steamed, fried or sauteed. Trim the bottoms of any tough stems. To counter the bitterness, blanch it briefly then shock it in cold water. Then cook as you would prefer. The italians use it frequently with pasta, adding tomatoes to counter any tartness.
Various recipes I’ve read generally call for placing the vegetable in salted, boiling water until the stems are tender (2-5 minutes), then draining & saute in a bit of EVOO quickly with a variety of things, ie: a dusting of parmesan shavings, or sliced garlic and red pepper flakes.
Just imagine a steaming bowl of penne pasta with sweet italian sausage, broccoli (of some variety), cheese and olives or sun dried tomatoes – Yummy!