it was after ordering a side of rapini at a restaurant that i had the idea for this porcini-fried rapini. the rapini i ordered was sauteed in olive oil and dressed with buttery, golden parmesan breadcrumbs--rich, and sharp flavours that stood up to the strong taste of the rapini. i wanted to make something similar and i remembered my mother using porcini "powder" in a coating once...it struck me as an even better match for the rapini than the cheese. earthy and strong porcinis to balance the bite of the greens. this has become my favourite way to make rapini. though it may not be the most-loved vegetable, it was the first dish to go when i served batches of porcini-fried rapini at a recent dinner party. the proof is in the empty plate. —yasmin
blanch rapini in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, then shock in ice-cold water. drain in colander, then squeeze out as much water as possible, gently but firmly, from rapini. lay rapini on clean towels and pat dry. allow to air dry. (if making ahead, you can transfer the blanched and dried rapini to an air tight container and refrigerate for a day.)
meanwhile, remove dirt and dust from porcini pieces and grind pieces to a powder in a spice grinder. in a large bowl, combine porcini powder and panko breadcrumbs, season with a pinch of salt and pepper. break egg into a separate large bowl, and whisk, season with salt and pepper. into a third large bowl, add the flour and season with salt and pepper.
add the rapini to the flour and dust lightly to ensure the rapini are dry before moving rapini to the egg mixture. add porcini pieces to the eggs wash and make sure they all of the surfaces are well-coated in the egg. then transfer to the panko mixture. coat the rapini in the panko and porcini, pressing the coating on with your fingers or a utensil.
heat oil and butter in a wide non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. distribute the oil and butter evenly and when the fat is hot, lay the rapini in the skillet in a single layer. do not crowd the skillet, fry in two batches if necessary. season with remaining salt (1/4 tsp) and pepper (1/8 tsp). fry on one side until the crust turns golden brown (about 2-3 minutes). turn rapini over and fry on the other side until golden. serve hot. (if making ahead, rapini can sit at room temperate for up to 4 hours. reheat in a 250 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or at a higher heat for 5-10 minutes.) serve hot.