Broccoli and it's many close and distant cousins are making an appearance now--and the blue-green heads of brassica bunched and bound with a bright red band are always appealing at market this time of year. But if you want to change up your weekly menu a bit, while still getting all the great flavor and nutrients of broccoli, look for broccoli rabe (sometimes also called rapini).
Broccoli rabe, while also in the brassica family, is more closely related to the mustard plant. But it has edible leaves, slim stalks and little flowering buds similar to broccoli, and it's just as easy to cook. It's slightly sharp flavor and mild bitterness are a nice accompaniment to fattier meats like pork, but we've also eaten it with steamed clams or mussels and a baguette in these cooler months. You can also make classic Italian pasta dishes using nothing more than a good olive oil, spaghetti, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes and pecorino to keep it vegetarian, or add some pork or chicken sausages (Rooster Street Provisions at Central Market has excellent ones with interesting flavor combinations) or pancetta or white beans. The New York Times recipe column even features broccoli rabe on its own in a lasagna. But if you want to keep it simple, like I do 9.9 nights out of 10, all you have to do is:
Who We Are
Green Circle Organics specializes in local and organic produce, dairy and minimally processed, locally produced foods. Since 2003, we've been operating out of the historic Lancaster Central Market, providing a channel for farm fresh, organic and specialty foods to reach city dwellers and visitors. Check here for recipe ideas using the seasonal produce and other goods we sell at our market stand and for our Produce Box home delivery service.