Broccoli rabe is one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. But like lots of vegetables, like broccoli or cabbage or spinach, I think our love/hate feelings is more about how the vegetable is prepared than anything else. I have found that many people who say they hate vegetables say it because they are used to eating them as an overcooked, bland preparation of themselves.
When prepared simply, allowing the full flavor of a vegetable to take center stage, a new experience is presented. Broccoli rabe is a perfect example of this. When prepared simply sautéed in an oil and garlic sauce, broccoli rabe, in my opinion is irresistible. As a child, when my mother prepared it, she had to hid the pan because I would grab a piece of crusty bread and scope up a batch right from the pan. It was irresistibly good and I couldn’t get enough.
Some things need nothing more than a simple preparation and this is one of them.
1 batch of broccoli rabe – cleaned and trimmed. See here for how
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil – or enough to cover the bottom of the pan
2 large fresh garlic clove – finely chopped
Fresh crusty bread – smeared with butter, chopped garlic and dried herb and toasted under a broiler
Place a large saute pan over medium heat. And oil and heat until hot but not smoking.
Add the broccoli rabe, cover and steam until the leaves begin to wilt and the stems are tender. Add at least half the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until they begin to color. Stir, add a splash of water if stems are still too firm, cover and cook for another minute or two.
In the meantime, spread the bread with butter, add some of the minced garlic and a sprinkle of dried herbs such as oregano or herbs de Provence.
Serve the broccoli rabe over the bread.