Know your Rapini

  • Rapini (also known as Broccoli Rabe (or Raap or Raab), Broccoletti, Broccoli di Rape, Cime di Rapa, Rappi, Friarielli (in Naples), and Grelos) is a common vegetable in the cuisines of Southern Italy (in particular Bari and Sicily), Galicia, China, and Portugal. 
  • The plant is a member of the Brassiceae tribe of the Brassicaceae, whose taxonomy is very difficult. 
  • Rapini is classified scientifically as Brassica rapa subspecies rapa, in the same subspecies as the turnip, but has had various other designations, including Brassica rapa ruvo, Brassica rapa rapifera, Brassica ruvo, Brassica campestris ruvo.
  • Rapini has many spiked leaves that surround a green bud which looks very similar to a small head of broccoli. 

  • The entire upper plant—stem, leaves, buds and flowers—is edible, and in Europe is considered to be a connoisseurs food.
  • The flavor of rapini has been described as nutty, bitter, and pungent.
  • Rapini is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium, calcium, and iron.
  • The vegetable probably descends from a wild herb, a relative of the turnip, that grew either in China or the Mediterranean region. 
  • It is similar in shape to the Chinese Brassica oleracea cultivar called kai-lan.
  • Rapini is now grown throughout the world. 
  • Rapini is available all year long, but its peak season is autumn to spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • A common preparation involves sauteing it with garlic over low heat for 10 - 15 minutes.
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