I've got a crush. I'm really into rapini these days. It's so peppery and bitter. I can't get enough of it. For my personal interest, here's a little backgrounder on the vegetable I'm having a love affair with.
Rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, is a member of the Brassiceae vegetable family, also referred to as the Cruciferous vegetables. Attractive cousins include kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and collards. Like its vegetable peers, rapini is high in iron, calcium and potassium and vitamin A and C.
The plant's origins are in southern Italy, China and Portugal. Legend says the plant is a descendant of a wild and poisonous herb related to the turnip.* No wonder I like it so much: dark, evil and mysterious. What an alluring vegetable, fit for a witch.
I like to eat it gently steamed with a light, lemony vinaigrette. It glows a bright and lovely green. I also enjoy it sauteed with garlic, and butter if you're into it.
In the wintertime I hardly ever eat salad. The thought of a cold floppy salad doesn't appeal to me. Instead, I eat steamed vegetable salads, which can be dressed just like regular salad, but are heartier and can be served warm.
* Story Dramatization: the predecessor to rapini was not actually poisonous