When you think of comfort food, most people think of homemade Chicken Noodle Soup or Chicken Pot Pie, right? Call me crazy, but my one of my all time favorite comfort foods is a simple Italian vegetable dish called Broccoli Rabe.
Broccoli Rabe, a member of the cabbage family has a slightly bitter flavor, similar to it’s cousin, mustard greens. However, it is only similar to standard American broccoli in color and name. This vibrant vegetable looks more like an unruly bouquet of large deeply ruffled green leaves sprinkled with demure little florets.
Some produce vendors claim that Rapini is the same thing, but trust me, the flavor is different.
Years ago, my famous Italian grandmother-in-law, Maria Balducci got me hooked on this unusual bitter green veggie. She taught me how to cook it in a variety of ways: a simple side dish paired with Veal Scaloppini; mixed with a combination of sweet and hot sausages over penne with light marinara; and loaded with garlic and oil over Orecchiette, with a heaping spoonful of grated Parmesean cheese.
My longing for broccoli rabe became a pet preoccupation as I tried cooking it with everything from linguine and clams, to crispy barbecued soft shell crabs.
As these playful culinary adventures settle into my food memory banks, I always come back to the recipe that first won my heart: the simple rustic pan saute with olive oil, lots of golden brown garlic, fresh squeezed lemon and topped with a heaping spoonful of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
The big news with broccoli rabe is that it has recently been touted as a “power food” because of it’s super antioxidant rich vitamin content and it’s cancer-preventing potential.
This week, I’m excited to share with you an unusual and delicious flavor pairing of broccoli rabe with fresh red snapper, brought happily together with a simple beurre blanc.
Erica Galindo is the Founder, and Editor in Chief, of Sonoma Christian Home.com
Married to the love of her life, Erica lives with her husband David in beautiful Sonoma County, California. In addition to being an artistic and driven entrepreneur, Erica is a passionate home chef. She loves entertaining and reinventing classic recipes with her unique brand of Sonoma style home cooking. Her life was changed forever in 2001, when she became a Christian.
To learn more about Erica, read her real life Love Story – God of Second Chances
- 4 (8-ounce) skin-off red snapper fillets, cut into twelve 2½” medallions, (remove any bones as much as possible, without tearing the fillets)
- 1 10 0z box McCormick Seafood Fry Mix coating
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 3-4 Eggs, beaten
- Salt & Pepper
- Oil for frying
- For Brocolli Rabe:
- 2 bunches broccoli rabe, rinsed and chopped coarse, with all stems removed
- 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 20 cloves garlic, smashed and cut in halves
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 lemons, freshly squeezed
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- For Beurre Blanc Sauce:
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 sticks high quality, unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
- salt and freshly ground white pepper
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Make the Beurre Blanc. In a heavy saucepan, combine vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to about 1½ tablespoons. Remove from heat and beat in half the butter until creamy. Set saucepan over low heat and whisk in one piece of butter at a time, until all the butter has been incorporated. Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice. Keep just barely warm until serving, to prevent from congealing.
- Prep the Brocolli Rabe. Half the ingredients and cook in two batches. In a large stainless steel saute pan, heat the olive on medium low heat, saute the garlic until slightly golden, add the brocolli rabe, salt and pepper. Flip and stir the brocolli rabe so that all the leaves are coated with the oil. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove cover and stir in lemon juice and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Do not overcook. Remove from heat. Remove the larger pieces of garlic, stir in cheese, cover and keep warm.
- Cook the Snapper. Generously season both sides of the snapper medallions with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning with McCormick fry mix. Dredge fillets in egg then dust snapper with fry mix. In a cast iron skillet heat oil over high heat. Add snapper fillets, skin-side down, and sear until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes, without turning. Carefully flip onto other side and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
- Assemble. Divide brocolli rabe between 4 plates, creating three 2½” mounds on each plate. Top each mound with a medallion of snapper. Spoon some buerre blanc over each piece. Garnish with pea shoots, serve hot and enjoy! Serves 4.
This intimidates the heck outta me. But I’m really trying to be more adventurous. I have only RECENTLY started cooking more than macaroni and cheese. And I’ve always disliked fish until just a couple of weeks ago. So now I’m really trying to step out and do something different with cooking AND ingredients. If I can locate the items needed, I may actually attempt this. I’M SCARED!
If I lived in NC, I’d rub your back and repeat, “It’s gonna be okay, sweetie” while you cooked.
Broccoli is classified in the Italica cultivar group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli has large flower heads, usually green in color, arranged in a tree-like structure on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species.^
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