There are enough prima donnas and disappointments in the garden, sometimes you just want a plant that delivers. Broccoli raab has several advantages to traditional broccoli. It's a very fast grower. It can be used as a cut and come again green. Few pests bother it and you don't have to catch it at just the right time. It's actually a closer relative to the turnip than broccoli, but you eat the leaves and the tiny, broccoli-like flowers and it's flavor is closer to broccoli than anything else.
You'll see it called many things, including rapini and broccoletti, both of which have a lot more flair than raab (or rabe). But it doesn't really matter what you call it. There's still time to sow a batch in the garden, since it's very cold hardy. And if you prefer, it's available now at farmers' markets and lots of grocery stores. Simple preparations are the best. All it really needs is some garlic and olive oil. You don't even have to cook it. But here are tasty variations from my friends.
- Lemony Broccoli Rabe
- Sauteed Boccoli Rabe, Italian Style
- Sauteed Broccoli Rabe, Korean Style
- Sausage and Broccoli Raab Pizza
- Carchiola (a polenta "pizza") with Broccoli Rabe
- Broccoli Raab with Tomatoes and Garlic
Photo: © Marie Iannotti