Starting this week, you can find two new vegetables featured on in the Suzie’s market stalls.
Both are highly prized vegetables in the Old Country.
It’s like new characters on your favorite show…What will they do? Who will they hook up with? Will they become your new favorites? Oo Oo Oo!
Frisee is a slightly bitter salad green (not as bitter as dandelion). It’s a chicory, like radicchio and dandelions. A cup-size serving gives you 1/3 the vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid that you need. It’s a regular in French bistrot salads with vinaigrette, and if you saute it with bacon and serve with a poached or fried egg on top, you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life.
(And yes, I know the photo company watermark is all over that picture. Look past it to the prettiness of the leaves, will you?)
Broccoli rabe literally (in Italian) means “baby broccoli.” (A messed-up name…it’s not actually a baby form of broccoli, but a different plant altogether.) It’s also known as rapini, so if your friends (looking enviously at your market basket) ask you “is that rapini?” you can say “Why, yes.” It’s got the same nutritional lineup as other brassicas—fiber, folate, calcium. It has a little bolder flavor than broccoli, suggestive of a mustard green (though it won’t clean your nose out when you eat it raw). Steaming it for just a couple of minutes and tossing it with olive oil and salt is how my Italian professor used to make it. But I’ll be honest with you—the flavor begs to be paired with crumbled sausage and hot pepper flakes.
As you can see, both are absurdly easy to prepare. But if you feel like getting crazy…and I know you do…here are a few ways to play.
Sautéed Lemon Maple Frisée
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 (1-pound) head frisée, torn
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook bread crumbs until crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest and a pinch of salt.
Wipe out skillet, then add anchovy paste and remaining 2 Tbsp oil and cook 15 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high and sauté half of frisée until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add remaining frisée and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Off heat, stir in juice, syrup, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Serve topped with bread crumbs.
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Anchovy and Hot Pepper
2 bunches of broccoli rabe
salt to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
6 oil-packed anchovy fillets or to taste
1 t hot red pepper flakes or 1 small dried red chili, chopped, seeds and all
1 lb orecchiette, cavatelli or other pasta
4 quarts water
freshly ground black pepper to taste
grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
Clean and coarsely chop the broccoli rabe.
Bring about 1 inch of lightly salted water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until it is tender and only a few tablespoons of liquid are left in the bottom of the pan-about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how finely the vegetable is chopped.
Set the pan of broccoli rabe aside, but keep it warm.
In a separate skillet or sauté pan, gently sauté the garlic in the olive oil until it is soft, then melt in the anchovy fillets by crushing them in the garlicky oil with a fork.
Add the red pepper and stir to mix well.
Turn the garlic-pepper oil into the broccoli rabe and mix.
Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until done. Drain the pasta and immediately combine with the seasoned broccoli rabe. Turn it into a warm serving bowl, add pepper, and serve immediately.
(You can pass grated cheese at the table.)