Thanksgiving morning I went out to the garden on the hunt for something green to add to my menu at the last minute. Turkey Day should be dubbed white meat and starch day. I was surprised to find rapini (also know as broccoli rabe or raab) sprouting like crazy. Not because rapini is out of season, but rather I totally forgot I planted it back in September.
Most of the rapini was on the young side with tender little florets just appearing. Early rapini tastes like broccoli stems crossed with clove and spinach. These small, young florets are delicious and sweet, and I prefer them to the more-often-harvested, more mature rapini, which have the traditional intense bitter tang. One of the benefits of having your own garden is being able to harvest and eat produce according to your taste preferences.
I sautéed the rapini for Thanksgiving Day and since then have eaten them every day in a variety of ways. I added them to my green juice in the morning. Last night I mixed them fresh with wild arugula, roasted peppers and goat cheese for a salad—it was a wonderful partner to my turkey shepherd’s pie.
For the sautéed version, I simply picked a whole bushel and sautéed it along with two garlic cloves in two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, a solid pinch of red chili pepper, and a hefty pinch or two of salt, all for about 4 minutes. The rapini was delicious, different and downright satisfying.