If you ever get in a rut with green vegetables, broccoli rabe is a great vegetable which can add some variety to your meals. Broccoli rabe has ruffled, leafy tops and tender stalks. It is full of many vitamins and minerals, most abundantly Vitamin A, C and K, as well as Calcium and Potassium. It is a member of the Brassica, or cabbage, genus, which is known for it's numerous health benefits. Like all members of the Brassica family, it contains concentrated organic compounds which are cancer-preventing and cancer-fighting, specifically against stomach, lung, colon, breast and prostate cancers. It has a slight bitterness, similar to mustard greens, but I find that a quick blanch takes care of that. Broccoli rabe may be referred to as rapini at your grocery store. Below is a simple and classic preparation of broccoli rabe.
2 bunches broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
You will need a pot of boiling water, a bowl of cold water and a sauté pan
Roughly chop the broccoli rabe and place into boiling salted water. Blanch for about 1 minute (no longer as the broccoli rabe will lose it's vital nutrients into the water). Then remove the broccoli rabe with tongs and transfer to a bowl of cold water to shock them. This will stop the cooking process and keep them a bright green color. Then dry the broccoli rabe, either in a salad spinner or by squeezing out the excess water.
Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté garlic until slightly brown and fragrant. Do not burn the garlic! Add broccoli rabe to the pan and toss to coat with garlic/pepper mixture and heat through, around 2 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This dish is great as a side or tossed with grains or pasta and topped with Parmesan cheese.
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