I have decided to be brave. To be daring. To try a vegetable I've never tried before. OK, that is neither brave nor daring considering that I really really like most vegetables. I am however I did it though. I had seen broccoli rabe in the grocery before, but never quite knew how to cook it. Sort of like quinces. SO when February's Bon Appetit came (yes, it's another recipe from the same issue), I decided to give it a go.
Broccoli rabe is also known as rapini. I like to call it rapini because that's how Meijers had it as and (most importantly) I don't know how to pronounce broccoli rabe. Does it rhyme with babe or sound like Rob or is the e not silent? I'm completely clueless. My mom had never heard of it before.
Apparently this rapini is a nutritional bonanza. It's a great source of calcium, potassium, vitamins A and C, fiber, anticarcinogens, and antioxidants. Pretty impressive. The only thing Bon Appetit didn't tell me was whether or not to remove the leaves. The Joy of Cooking and a couple of websites mentioned it as a leafy green (or salad green) so I decided to leave the leaves on. Bon Appetit also says that broccoli rabe has a bitter edge. I really didn't think it was bitter at all. But maybe that's me.
So what did I make? I made Broccoli Rabe with Bulgur and Walnuts. It was terrific. I made it as a side dish with some baked chicken, I know I'm really creative with the baked chicken. I was thinking when I was cooking it though, that it would make a great lunch all on it's own. The walnuts add protein. The broccoli rabe provide a vegetable. And the bulgur is a great whole grain. The bulgur was nice and chewy and the walnuts were hardly noticeable. Something like a little perk. The Brain ate all of his before eating the chicken, so I may have to fight him for leftovers though.
As an aside if you are bringing this to a potluck, make sure you inform people that it has walnuts in it. The walnuts blend in visually with the bulgur and would definitely cause a problem if someone has a tree nut allergy. That would be very bad. In fact, I think this could probably be made successfully without the walnuts.
Broccoli Rabe with Bulgur and Walnuts
from Bon Appetit (again)
1 cup medium grain bulgur
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe (rapini) bottom 1 inch of stems trimmed
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
juice from one lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place bulgur in medium bowl; pour 2 1/2 cups boiling water over. Stir once and let stand until just tender, about 20 minutes. Pour bulgur into fine strainer set over bowl. Reserve soaking liquid.
Cook broccoli rabe in boiling salted water until crisp tender and a bright green color, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to bowl of ice water and cool. Drain; cut into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add walnuts; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and bulgur; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until heated, about 3 minutes. If dry, add reserved bulgur liquid by tablespoonfuls. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Toss in Parmesan and serve.