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Never Eat Bitter Broccoli Rabe Again

Rachel Tepper Paley
April 30, 2014

Photo credit: Iain Bagwell/Getty

Broccoli rabe is a bitter vegetable even in the best of times, but that’s no reason to banish it from your dinner table. Who can stay mad at those darling little buds? (What can we say? Some people think cat photos are adorable, others, broccoli rabe.)

Luckily for would-be lovers of this polarizing veggie, there’s a trick to taking the edge off its signature bitterness: Blanch it first in salt water.

Several blogs swear by this step, done before any sautéing or baking occurs, and we can report that it does indeed work. Sure, even then broccoli rabe won’t burst with the same sweetness as a sugar snap pea. But that’s OK.

With its cute looks, a little bite isn’t such a bad thing.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe
From Everyday Food
Serves 4

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe, trimmed
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook broccoli rabe until bright green, 45 to 60 seconds. Drain; set aside.

2. Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet, until evenly golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes; remove from skillet. Heat oil in skillet. Add broccoli rabe; cook, tossing occasionally, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Toss broccoli rabe with pine nuts and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.