“These should have died, but they somehow survived.” said the farmer.
Several farmers here in NYC are offering incredibly flavorful greens that survived multiple winter frosts and snowstorms to emerge even sweeter than they were before. They are the delicious undead veggies of the farmers market. One farmer explained that many winter vegetables like carrots and parsnips are so sweet because they have to work so hard in the cold weather and that ‘work’ produces sugar. But some greens, like broccoli rabe, that are normally more vegetal, work hard enough to survive the winter and develop the same kind of sweetness.
The taste is hard to describe but if you can imagine the freshest tasting green you’ve ever tasted and then add a little hint of an almost honey-like sweetness, that’s pretty close.
I like to balance the sweetness with the heat of chili flakes and I like to use a touch of sherry vinegar for some acid. But truly you don’t have to do much to make this stuff taste delicious and I ate several leaves raw on the way home from the market and they were great.
So ask around at your local market and see if anyone has any wintered greens left over. If you can find them, you’re in for a treat. If not, sit tight. Hunker down and watch out for The Governor.
Wintered Broccoli Rabe with Chili Flakes and Sherry Vinegar
Farmers Market Bill $4/4 Servings ($1/serving)
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over low heat
Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic a pinch of chili flakes
Keep the heat low as you’re actually making a garlic/chili oil while you prep the rabe
Rinse and chop 1 head of wintered broccoli rabe
Remove garlic slices with a slotted spoon and increase heat to medium-high
Saute rabe for 5-7 minutes
Add a generous pinch of salt and some black pepper, 1.5 tablespoons of sherry vinegar and return garlic slices to pan
Toss together and taste for seasoning. If desired, add more chili flakes or salt and pepper.