It is Lent. It’s a no meat, eat fish, steam veggies kind of season. Broccoli Rabe is a variation of broccoli and to many Italians, a staple to be used with pasta, fish or chicken.
Some say it can be bitter or tough; I say you need to know how to cook it. Let’s try!
What you need:
A nice size bunch of fresh broccoli rabe
3 tablespoons or so of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh peeled garlic, coarsely chopped and I mean a ton of it!
Malden salt flakes or a grainy Kosher salt
Spice-crushed red pepper or an Italian blend
What to do:
Rinse the broccoli rabe and pat it dry. Then trim the tough stems just a bit from the bottom.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; add the chopped garlic and sauté briefly, until you begin to smell that heavenly aroma.
Add the broccoli rabe, toss to coat in the oil and garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli wilts.
Sprinkle with salt and crushed red pepper. Continue to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it is really wilted.
Now take that one step further:
Use the broccoli rabe on pizza with Manchego cheese and extra hot peppers. Add to pasta with olives and shrimp.
You can also place the rabe alongside fish in a foil tent. Add sundried tomatoes, capers and pine nuts. Place on the grill for about 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Spectacular!
Do not fear broccoli rabe.
When all else fails, take the easy way:
Cook chopped broccoli rabe, uncovered, in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water about 3-5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well in a colander and use as you see fit!