Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Broccoli Rapini (or Raab)

A very distant relative to the familiar bunch
Though this leafy green has broccoli in its name, it’s not closely related to that heady vegetable. Broccoli rapini (or raab) originated in China and the Mediterranean. This is one of the most widely-used food items around the world and it’s growing in popularity within the United States. Look for Broccoli rapini in Italian and Chinese dishes. The plant is closely related to turnips and the leaves resemble turnip greens but food experts believe that broccoli rapini evolved from a wild herb. Peak season for this vegetable is early spring. Expect a strong green flavor and taste similar to mustard greens. We blanched the broccoli rapini in our penne dish to lessen its strong green or bitter flavors. Select broccoli rapini bunches with light green leaves with crisp and strong leaves. Avoid bunches with wilted, water-damaged, or discolored leaves. This ingredient is a good source of potassium and vitamin A.

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