Rapini, the overwintered sister of broccoli rabe, is a “get it while you can” delicacy vegetable. Depending on the weather it may be available for only a week or two or not at all. So, every spring we suffer through rapini anxiety hoping the weather warms up but not too much. Rapini pops up in the early spring once it starts to warm but “bolts” out of town if the temperature hits around 70 degrees. Bolting occurs when higher temperatures cause the plant to convert energy into growing flowers and seeds instead of leaves. The result is bitter woody plants – yuck.
This week we are offering up overwintered rapini, kale, and parsnips. Overwintering greens is a nifty process of seeding in the fall, then covering up the land all winter until spring harvest. Overwintered root crops are simply left in the dirt until they can be dug up. Cover can be really fancy blankets, or just regular ol’ straw. Overwintered vegetablesproduce more sugar to keep themselves from freezing to death. The result is that they taste sweeter than their seasonal counterparts. When you taste the rapini, kale, and parsnips and then think “these are amazing!”, you’ll know why.
This Week’s Field Goods Favorite
AKA Broccoli Rabe. Did you know that rapini is more closely related to turnips than broccoli? It is NOT supposed to have big flower heads like broccoli. To prepare, trim the stems, toss with garlic & olive oil, add a splash of liquid, and sauté for a few minutes (you do not need to peel the stems). Toss with pasta and some good Parmesan cheese, or with rice and soy sauce. More info
Bring salted water to boil.
Add a bunch of broccoli rabe.
Boil 2 minutes.
Drain and squeeze moisture out of the broccoli rabe.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add chopped garlic (as much as little as you like).
Add broccoli rabe and cook for about 4 minutes.