Mary Ann's Blog

Bitter is Better


I just harvested the first of the broccoli rape from my garden.  This is one of those vegetables that no serious Italian cook would be without.

But for the life of me I cannot understand the fixation of having to boil it to death to rid it of its ”bitter taste.” Rape is meant to have a bitter taste. That is

part of the charm of this vegetable. Boiling it may tame the taste for you but it will also destroy any vitamins which will be left behind in the cooking water!

Instead it is better to steam this vegetable. After trimming the ends, coarsely chop the leaves, rinse and place in a pot with no extra water. Cover and let the greens wilt down, then drain. Meanwhile, warm a thinly sliced garlic clove in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the rape and cook for a few minutes in the oil. Stir in diced oil cured black olives, grinding of black pepper and salt to taste. Transfer to a serving dish and dust the top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese.


  1. Jeffrey's avatar


    My grandmother used to sandwich the cooked rape between two slabs of crusty, Italian bread from a local bakery, and my grandfather would take it in his lunch to work. The men in his department used to beg pieces so often that grandma started sending grandpa to work with two sandwiches; one for him, and one for his co-workers to share.

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