Rapini for Pig Lovers
These super healthy greens go by many names. In Naples they are called Friarielli, in North America they are Broccoli Rabe or Rapini.
Rapini can be kinda bitter depending on how it's prepared. Blanching the greens in some stock, then shocking them in cold water before a quick sautee can take the edge off, so will a squeeze of lemon right before serving. Of course, there's always bacon, almost everything tastes better with bacon.
I like to combine rapini with local Sweet Williams smoked bacon, garlic, and some crushed chili. Tossing the greens with smokey white kidney beans makes the dish even better. When I prepared this, I had some of my slow cooker, smoked ham hock beans on hand, the results were far superior to earlier versions using canned white kidney beans. So, I'll include that recipe in a future post.
You will need
2 strips smoked bacon, cut into small strips or lardon
3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
couple of pinches of crushed chili pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 big handful of rapini
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup water
1 cup of cooked smokey white kidney beans*
To prepare the greens- first cut off bottom inch or so of the stalk, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer tough peel from the stalk. Coarsely chop the larger outer leaves, discarding any with yellowing edges. Rapini gets more bitter the longer it's stored, so select only the freshest looking greens and use promptly.
Bring the stock and water to the boil and add the rapini, reduce heat and allow to simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, until just tender. Remove from heat and drain. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking, drain and set aside.
Add bacon lardons to a moderately hot frying pan. Let bacon cook slowly over medium heat to render some of its fat and lightly brown. Add a glug of olive oil, then stir in garlic and chili. Sautee until garlic just begins to take on a light golden color. Add the greens and toss until coated with bacon fat, garlic, chili mixture. Turn up the heat a bit, add beans, and continue to toss mixture until greens have wilted and beans have heated through. Finish with a drizzle of chili oil.*
These pretty little frilly greens are so rich in nutrients that they will likely cure whatever ails ya. This recipe served along side a flavourful stuffed pork tenderloin** and we have a Sunday dinner.
*recipes to come...
**recipe and wine pairing coming soon...