Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Bitter, The Better!

The Wonders of Bitter Greens
Broccoli Rabe
This painting reminds me of our daughter and her friends picking flowers while on vacation last week. 

Now that we are back from spring break, and the bags are unpacked and the piles of laundry cleaned, folded and put away, it is time to refocus on healthful eating.  We ate well on vacation, but our intake of greens was far lower than our intake of ice cream, toffee and other sweet treats that we only eat when we are on holiday.  So logically, one of my first stops when we got back to NYC was the greens isle at Whole Foods. And one of my favorite, powerhouse go-to green:  Broccoli Rabe.

Bitter greens are so important to healthy living because they contain phytonutrients that support the liver to manage cholesterol, balance hormones and detoxify the blood.  They also help to metabolize fats. Aside from Broccoli Rabe (also known as rapini), other healthy bitter greens include radicchio, dandelion greens, endive, kale, daikon greens and arugula.  They are all fantastic!

Broccoli Rabe with Pine Nuts and Bread Crumbs

This dish is a staple in our home.  I have instructed countless friends over the years in its preparation. It pairs wonderfully well with most proteins and can be enjoyed in any season!

Here is what you will need:

2 heads of Broccoli Rabe
Olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 cloves of garlic cut into large pieces
dash of hot pepper seeds
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1 Lemon

Cut the leaves of the Broccoli Rabe into pieces and with a peeler, thin the stalks. Soak the greens in hot water for 3-5 minutes. This not only cleans the vegetable but also takes the bitterness down a bit. Remove from water and dry (preferably with a salad spinner). 

While the greens are soaking, sauté the garlic, pine nuts and hot pepper in the olive oil for about 2 minutes (or until garlic is soft).  Add in bread crumbs and sauté until slightly browned (another 1-2 minutes). 

Add in the rapini leaves and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until soft.   

Add lemon and season with salt/pepper. 

Eat greedily!

Next up -- early gardens. This Springtime the "it" plant  is Helleborous. I planted 5 in my garden last fall. 

Spring is here - think healthy!