Broccoli rabe is one of those vegetables that you either absolutely love, or you just can’t stand, no matter how many times someone makes it for you (Dad: I am referring to you) ….you just can’t do it. There’s no real middle ground when it comes to broccoli rabe. It’s pretty much a yes or a no. Broccoli rabe has rather a sharp bite, which tends to be on the bitter side.
I happen to absolutely love these qualities when it comes to broccoli rabe, but know that not everyone shares my enthusiasm. So, when I am fixing broccoli rabe for the less than enthusiastic crowd (a.k.a. my family), I soften the flavor a bit by sauteing it in olive oil with a million cloves of garlic, white wine, chicken broth, then toss with fresh pasta and home made ricotta cheese. Oh- and a squeeze of lemon to finish. This is the way I usually prepare broccoli rabe … that is until I found my new favorite way to eat broccoli rabe–grilled!
I recently picked up a copy of Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton, (former editor of Fine Cooking Magazine) which is filled with all kinds of delicious recipes featuring fresh vegetables that take you through braising, sauteing, grilling, and even a section on gratins. It’s a great book for summer, which I highly recommend.
I spotted her recipe for grilled Broccoli Rabe with Lemon and Parmigiano, and knew I had to make it, and soon. I grill all kinds of vegetables, all of the time during the summer, but broccoli rabe? That was one I hadn’t even thought of trying. So before I knew it, my grill basket was heating up and there I was, cooking broccoli rabe on the grill.
Following Susie’s recipe, I tossed the broccoli rabe in a mixture of water, olive oil, and salt prior to adding to the heated grill pan.
The olive oil allows the broccoli rabe to char and caramelize a bit, creating fantastic flavor. The water allows the broccoli rabe to steam as it cooks, ensuring tenderness.
So for all of you broccoli rabe lovers out there who truly appreciate the character it holds, this is one you must try this summer. I know I will be making this one again and again, but probably not for you dad…this is not one for you….not even with extra cheese and lemon.
Grilled Brocoli Rabe with Lemon and Parmigiano
8 ounces broccoli rabe, bottom 2-inches trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
Small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano
Put a vegetable grilling basket directly on the grate of a gas grill and preheat to medium. When the grill and basket are hot, toss the broccoli rabe in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, 3 tablespoons water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and transfer it to the grill basket. Toss well, close the lid, and cook, tossing frequently with tongs (and replacing the lid each time), until the rabe is wilted and all of the pieces have some browning on them, 7 to 8 minutes.
Transfer the rabe to a serving platter. Taste and add a little salt if necessary. Season with a light squeeze of the lemon, and using a y-shaped vegetable peeler, shave as many Parmigiano shavings as you like (8 to 10 would be good) over the rabe. Serve warm or at room temperature
Serves 3 to 4