In the UK, this vegetable is known as Rapini or Turnip Tops, in the US, Broccoli Rabe or Raab and in one of the places of its birth, so to speak, Italy, it has the more romantic sounding name of Cime de Rapa. Ok, romantic to us non Italian speakers! However, even in Italy, it has a few nicknames – broccoletti, rapi, cime, etc. A green by any other name, and all that.
I don’t know how common they are in the US, but here in the UK, they’re not too well known, most people outside the food industry I have mentioned it too, have never heard of it, by any of its names. I get it from my usual grocery delivery company, Ocado, who specialise in artisanal products and have a great range from the Mediterranean amongst their stock.
Despite its little florets resembling the common broccoli, Cime de Rape is not actually related to the broccoli but is in fact a cousin of the turnip. The leaves, as you can see from the image above, are a deep, vibrant green. The Broccoli Rabe has a deep, earthy flavour with a hint of bitter, it is in fact, very versatile.
How to cook Broccoli Rabe
Cook it simply with garlic, ginger and sesame oil for an easy Chinese vegetable dish; with garlic, olive oil, anchovies and pasta the way they do in Apulia, Italy or with pasta and sausages for a deeper and multilayered flavour.