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I love bitter greens but always assumed you should let their flavor stand alone as the outlier in a dish. A few years ago, however, I came across Broccoli Rabe in Lemon Cream in "My Italian Garden" by Viana La Place (the author most well known for "Unplugged Kitchen"). The cream softened the bitterness of the rabe, which wasn't a surprise, but a small squeeze of lemon juice transformed the dish -- brightening the mineral flavors in the greens and challenging their bitterness with acidity. Broccoli rabe and I started anew from that day forward.
Broccoli Rabe in Lemon Cream
Adapted from "My Italian Garden" by Viana La Place
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe, stems trimmed, cut into short lengths
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
- Buttered crostini
1. Cook the broccoli rabe in abundant salted boiling water until al dente, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain.
2. Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the rabe and stir well to coat. Add salt to taste and let the flavors meld over low heat for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the cream and lemon juice. Toss gently and let warm over low heat. Serve surrounded with crisp buttered crostini.