There was once a time when seeing Rapini in the produce section of urban grocery stores made me feel like a bit of a failure. Here was a vegetable I couldn’t quite grasp. I’d buy it, bring it home, cook it, and it tasted awfully bitter – time and again. So I stopped buying it.
Then those bunches of green flowers taunted me every time I saw them out of the corner of my eye. ‘Hey you. Botany girl, teacher of wild edibles and vegetable production. Why can’t you make me work for you?’
By chance, the subject came up at a get together, where I had prepared something that baffled the group, and I admitted that I wasn’t that great because I still couldn’t get a grasp on Rapini, and my friend Ian told me how to prepare it, so now I’ll share this with you because it really is a beautiful vegetable that is invigorating to eat and is great for your body and its easy.
The funny thing is that the key to prepping this veggie is the same as many wild edibles, including the stalwart of wild edibles, Dandelion greens, where changes of water are involved, though Rapine is easier, as it only requires one boil, not two or three exchanges of boiling water to get the bitterness out for edibility.
Fill up and set a large pot of slightly salted water to boil. The more the rapini can roll in the boil, the better the bitter will draw out.
Wash the rapini of course. It is a fairly clean vegetable, not sandy or silty like coriander or spinach.
Snap off or cut off the tougher bases of the stalk. Sometimes I’ll tear off the lower leaves, just to make smaller pieces.
Set the rapini into the rolling boiling water. Allow water to cover all of the bits and pieces. Boil for about 7-10 minutes. You don’t want it to turn to mush, and you may prefer a little bit of bitter.
Get a frying pan ready with butter, salt, pepper and a bit of minced garlic to taste. Brown the garlic a bit for a sweeter flavour.
You can tell if the rapini is boiled enough by the colour of the water. They yellow signifies the drawn bitter.
Transfer the boiled rapini into the melted butter and browned garlic. Stir fry until coated.
Voila! Nice and hot, buttery, salty, rapini ready to eat.
May the forest be with you.