Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tasty broccoli raab

Curious about that broccoli raab we picked out of the garden yesterday and fixed for Sunday dinner today, I looked it up on the internet.

It is an unfamiliar plant to me. I have never heard of any other Ozarks gardener raising a crop of it. Even my wife, a professional horticulturist, had not grown it or heard of anyone here or back at her home in Texas growing it. She had heard about it, though, on cooking shows. All the big-deal chefs are in love with the stuff apparently.

Turns out, according to my research, that it is also known as rapini. It is green cruciferous vegetable, meaning it s a cole crop. Cole crop is the colloquial name for cruciferous, which means they are in the brassica family along with cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choy, horseradish, mustard, kale, collard, broccoli and turnips.

Raab or rapini is associated with Italian and Portuguese cuisines. Since few Ozarkers come from those backgrounds, that explains why rapini is not in most gardens. My resarch indicates that it descended frm a wild herb related to the turnip that grew in China. (It seems like everything is made in China nowadays.) It is similar to a Chinese cultivar called kai-lan.

Rapini grows throughout the world now.

It is a little bitter but tasty. The leaves, stems and buds are edible, and the buds are similar to broccoli. The leaves are said to be equivalent to turnip greens. Rapini is a great source of vitamins A, C and K, potassium, calcim and iron.

In Italy, it is said to be a side dish for pork. That is what Delaine did today for Sunday dinner. She chopped it up and mixed it in with orecchiette pasta and a sauce she made up. Orecchiette is italian for "little ear," describing the pasta shape. She served that pasta and rapini side dish with pork chops.

It was fine, mighty fine, and I will likely be eating it again this week for my lunch at work. Maybe a couple of lunches.

No comments: