Broccoli rabe, also called rappini or broccoli raab -pronounce it rob, not rab- is a new-to-me vegetable. I know it’s sort of common and in some areas it has been available for years. There’s no reason that I haven’t tried it. Broccoli rabe just never jumped into my cart saying, “I’m delicious,” the way so many other foods do.
Do NOT eat broccoli rabe raw. Just don’t. Broccoli rabe must be cooked properly or it will be extremely bitter. Thankfully the bitterness reducing step is as simple as boiling pasta, so if you can make mac and cheese, you have no excuse. Tim wandered by, snatched a bud, thinking it was plain old broccoli and boy was he surprised and unpleasantly at that. Learn from him, folks. Be aware, if you have young children who are extremely sensitive to bitter flavors that some bitterness will remain. Some people enjoy this aspect, others will not. If you are extremely adverse to bitter flavors you may have better luck with broccolini, which I’ll experiment with in the future.
This recipe is quick and makes an excellent side dish for meals with Asian flavors. It’s a great accompaniment to my garlic and soy chicken thighs. While I preferred the broccoli rabe with a sprinkling of soy sauce, Tim enjoyed it as is. If you want, this technique can be used with a variety of different seasonings. Try skipping the ginger and adding a pinch of crushed red pepper or go for a flavor that would compliment many dishes from the US by omitting the ginger and tossing with bacon crumbles. Thinly sliced onion or shallots would be a great addition, too. The goal is to flavor the oil in which the broccoli rabe is sauteed, giving the the vegetable flavor that is complementary to your meal.
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Ginger
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, thoroughly washed
- 1 large pot of salted, boiling water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp, fresh ginger peeled and minced
- salt to taste
Roughly chop the rabe into 2″ pieces. You want them large enough to spear with a fork, but not too awkward for eating.
Toss the washed and chopped broccoli rabe into the boiling, salted water and allow to cook for 2 minutes, maybe a little more. You want the broccoli rabe to become bright green and fork tender, but not mushy.
While the broccoli rabe is boiling. Make sure you have a colander or strainer ready. In a skillet or wok heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring so they begin to cook but be careful not to burn the garlic.
Drain the broccoli rabe, shake it to be sure most of the water is gone, then add it to the olive oil, garlic, and ginger. Stir to coat with the flavored oil and saute for 2 – 3 minutes.
Salt to taste and serve immediately.