If you aren’t eating broccoli rabe, you’re missing out. You’ve likely seen it in the grocery or on restaurant menus. It goes by many names – broccolini, rapini, friarielli – and as it turns out, it isn’t actually broccoli. But it produces little florets that look like broccoli (as nearly all mustard flower clusters do), hence the reference. Unlike its bland cousin, rabe has an intense, sharp, and somewhat bitter taste reminiscent of other dark mustard greens.
We typically pan sauté rabe in olive oil, stems and all, with a pinch of chili flakes and a sliced clove of garlic. It’s delicious served warm with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of balsamic vinegar. It works well as a side dish, but we like it just as well featured on pizza or on one of the Tartine-inspired open-face sandwiches we prepare in our awesome Breville toaster oven.
Broccoli rabe’s bold flavors pair nicely with citrus, nutty olive oil and rich Pecorino cheese in this “last-of-the-season” salad. Finished with crunchy sea salt crystals and fresh cracked black pepper, this dish hits all the best taste marks.
Broccoli Rabe and Citrus Salad
1 bunch broccoli rabe, rinsed, ends of stems trimmed
2 blood oranges (we used Caracara oranges)
1 ruby grapefruit
2 ounces shaved manchego or pecorino cheese
Large flake finishing salt (we’re fans of Maldon sea salt flakes)
Good extra virgin olive oil
Blanch cleaned broccoli rabe in salted boiling water for approximately 30 seconds, remove from boiling water and plunge immediately into prepared ice bath. Once cooled, remove rabe from ice water and spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry between towels. Set aside.
Peel citrus using a knife to remove all external skin and white pith. Slice citrus into quarter inch thick rounds.
Assemble salad by arranging broccoli rabe and citrus slices on a platter. Shave cheese over greens and fruit, drizzle with generous amounts of olive oil, sprinkle sea salt over everything and finish with a few grinds from the pepper grinder. Serve.