(A quick aside, soapbox style: Where did we go wrong, as a culture, that we've given up the joys of eating fresh, seasonal, local produce? As far as this gal is concerned, trading vibrant flavor for convenience and uniformly shaped tomatoes, is so not worth it. Those strawberries that you wait eleven months for, the tomatoes that come around but once a year, the first crop of screamingly fresh garlic...these things are well and truly worth their weight in gold. And I'll stop, I promise, but just think of this also: Isn't it perhaps a valuable life lesson to the kiddos, that the good things in life are worth waiting for, and working for? Not to mention the importance of learning that food comes from the earth, and that people work hard to grow it. Stepping down from soapbox, and continuing on...)
So, among all the other delicious treasures we discovered in The Box, we had some gorgeous Easter Egg radishes. Seriously, it looked like the bunny had been at them with his paintbrush. Beauties, I tell you.
And the main course, this week, from Out of The Box...Broccoli Rabe Bruschetta. The recipe is adapted from the marvelous book, Local Flavors, by Deborah Madison. Another quick and easy, flavorful, and surprisingly filling way of serving up veggies. The vivid green of the broccoli rabe atop freshly toasted bread, combined with the subtle pungency of fresh garlic...ah...feeds the eyes, the belly, and the soul. Good stuff.
Broccoli Rabe Bruschetta - adapted from Local Flavors
1 large bunch (about 1 pound) broccoli rabe, tough stems removed or peeled, and chopped into 1 inch lengths
1 Tbs olive oil
4 fresh garlic cloves (or 2 regular ones), 3 minced, 1 sliced in half to rub on toast
a pinch red pepper flakes
red wine vinegar
4 large slices rustic country bread
salty cheese for topping bread, I used a peppered Tuscan, parmigiano would work too
Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt, and chopped broccoli rabe, and cook until tender, 3-5 minutes. Drain, and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.
Toast the bread slices in a toaster oven, or under a broiler, toasting both sides. Rub with the halved garlic clove (that fresh garlic melts into the bread, just like butter!), and top with cheese. Broil just until the cheese begins to bubble a bit.
Warm the oil over medium heat, in a skillet. Add the broccoli rabe, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water. Turn with tongs to mix in the garlic, then lower the heat to medium low, and cook for a few minutes. Make sure there's ample liquid in the pan, adding more if necessary. The greens shouldn't fry, plus you'll want the extra liquid to spoon over them. Taste for salt, then season with a few drops of good, strong vinegar.
Transfer the toasts to plates, then cover them with broccoli rabe and the juices from the pan. Add a few drops of olive oil, if you like, to each toast. And that's how it's done.