the bitter truth January 20, 2009


My life, at the end of last year, was full of more bitterness than truthfulness, unfortunately. little did i know. some things, no matter how you try and doctor them up…no matter how you season them, are tough to swallow – in life and in food. this year, we're off on a much better foot, i assure you.
Like a lot of people, I turn to comfort foods (as evidenced in the way my jeans were fitting there right after the holidays – I could still button them, though!). Cheese and bread come to the forefront of that for me. In the heart of winter chilliness, I also love all of the winter greens that are available at the market. I normally turn to chard and kale when I want to add some chewy bitterness to a recipe.
For this version of a toasty bruschetta, I experimented with rapini or broccoli rabe. It has all of the health benefits of dark greens and the touch of peppery bitterness with the benefit of eye-pleasing broccoli-esque flowers. A quick saute with some garlic and heat from red chili flakes makes the broccoli rabe a perfect wintertime – yet unusual – topping for a gooey and crusty bruschetta. Serve these when all of the ingredients are warm for maximum effect.

Broccoli Rabe Bruschetta – makes 16

  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread or crusty Italian loaf bread
  • 2 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small whole fresh mozzarella – sliced into 1/8 slices
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced 
  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe – tough ribs and stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried red chili flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

– Cut one end off the ciabatta loaf and then cut 16 1/4
inch slices of ciabatta or slices of Italian loaf bread with a serrated knife.Spread out on baking sheet in preheated 350 degree oven until golden on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add a slice of fresh mozzarella to each piece of bread and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes. The level of melty-ness is up to you.
– Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in a large skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high
heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft but not browning. Add broccoli rabe and saute until small stems are tender, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the red chili flakes and salt & pepper to taste. Divide evenly on the breads, heaping the greens a bit in
the center. Serve immediately.


gadgetgeek Jan 20, 2009 01:01 pm

Delicious looking and sounding. Vivid green on white, so nice.

Broderick Jan 20, 2009 05:01 pm

Looks good, I could actually make this!

Jen Jan 23, 2009 07:01 am

Broccoli Rabe is one of my faves! Great idea to add it to Bruschetta :)