Deb’s Favorite Green

broccoli raabFew things smell better to me than garlic simmering in butter.  Many of my recipes start this way, some healthier than others.  My not so healthy indulgence, linguini in clam sauce is one of my favorites.  Since I only make it once or twice a year, I savor every bite.  At this time of year, however, my simmering garlic is for the broccoli raab that I just picked from my garden.  Broccoli raab is one of my top three green vegetables. I think I could probably eat it every day for a month and still not get sick of it.

Not everyone feels this way about it.  Usually when the subject comes up (and, believe it or not, it comes up quite often), people will say they don’t care for it because it’s too bitter.  Yes, it is bitter, and if it’s made in the traditional Italian way (I assume it’s the traditional way since I only ever see it in Italian restaurants), it is quite bitter.  Not mine.

But before I get to my non-bitter recipe (and if you’re one of those who thinks you don’t care for it, you MUST try this recipe—I know I’ll convert you, that is if you are already a vegetable lover—which you SHOULD be), let me tell you a little about how wonderful this vegetable is.

Broccoli raab (aka rapini) is a member of the Brassica family of vegetables along with broccoli, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, pak choi and kohlrabi.  These vegetables contain phytonutrients that help our liver detoxify chemicals that are potential carcinogens (cancer causing).  That alone is reason to add these veggies to our regular diet.

Aside from the cancer preventing benefits, broccoli raab also contains numerous vitamins and minerals, calcium being a substantial one.  Other big hitters are iron, and vitamins K, E, and A.  The best part—the caloric intake is light for such a nutritional punch.  Like most other vegetables, it has the necessary dietary fiber that we all need to keep our digestive tracts functioning at their best. Let me also put the plug in for it being an anti-inflammatory vegetable, though there are other more famous ones that help heal inflammation.

So, give it a try if you haven’t and give it another try if you have and didn’t care for it.  I’ve gotten rave reviews.

Deb’s Broccoli Raab

1 bunch broccoli raab (rapini)

4 cloves garlic, crushed and sliced

½ cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

1 T ghee (clarified butter)

Bring a 2 quart saucepan filled with water to a boil.  Trim the woody ends of the broccoli raab, but keep the bunch together.  Once the water boils, add the broccoli raab and blanch for two minutes.  In the meantime, crush and chop the garlic and set aside*.  Strain  the broccoli raab and put on a large cutting board.

Chop it to 1-2 inch size pieces.  In a large sauté pan, melt butter at medium-high heat.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrance can be smelled (pause and savor).  Add broccoli raab and sauté for a minute or so.  Add stock and heat for another 5-7 minutes at medium heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

* letting crushed garlic sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking lets the allicin develop.  Allicin is a powerful antibacterial as well as lipid-lowering, anti-blood coagulation, anti-hypertension, anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-microbial.

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