WHAT IS BROCCOLI RABE
Some 15 years ago, broccoli rabe began to appear in some restaurants. Also called broccoli rape, raab (pronounced rob), rapini, Chinese broccoli and Italian broccoli in the U.S., it then became available in produce markets. Now, it can be found at more and more quality supermarkets.
Descended from a wild herb, like many of our greens, versions of broccoli rabe originated in the Mediterranean and in China.
Broccoli rabe is not botanically related to either broccoli or broccolini. It is sweeter than broccolini, and like broccoli, it can be eaten raw.
Although it bears the name “broccoli,” tastes like a bitter and pungent form of broccoli (think broccoli crossed with mustard greens with some nuttiness) and looks like a relative of broccoli—it has broccoli-like buds and florets at the top of slender stalks—broccoli rabe is not related to broccoli but turnips.
That’s why the leaves look like turnip greens and the vegetable is also called Italian turnip and turnip broccoli.
Broccolini is not a young growth of broccoli, but a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan, a Chinese chard (also a cruciferous vegetable). The result looks broccoli but with smaller florets and longer, thin stalks.