Bringing My Love for Broccoli Rabe to the Bay Area!
If you are from New Jersey or have spent much time there, you are probably familiar with Broccoli Rabe, as it appears on almost every Italian restaurant menu in the state of NJ. Broccoli Rabe is also known as Rapini, but there is a clear difference in appearance and flavor between the two types of cruciferous veggies. I have noticed here in California that Rapini is more common on CA cuisine and Italian restaurant menus, yet it isn’t the same as what I am used to from my home state. Last year I went on a crusade to find the Broccoli Rabe I grew up eating. Wouldn’t you know it, but where was one of the only places I could find it? Dan’s Fresh Produce in Alameda!
Each week I find myself at Dan’s stocking up on produce and other healthy items for my fridge. Dan and I often talk about food politics, seasonal fruits and veggies etc. I recently got to speak to Dan about Broccoli Rabe, and what he told me explained it all!!
“Many farms throughout the country grow Rapini, but my experience over the years is that Rapini is mostly leaf with very little “broccoli buds” in it. In fact the growers that do call their Rapini Broccoli Rabe are riding on the reputation of Andy Boy’s Rabe. Andy Boy is the label for vegetables packed by the D’ Arrigo Bros. who have property all over the country and grow vegetables specific to certain regions and then cross ship them. Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe not only has the peppery mustard-like leaf, but also a decent amount of well formed “broccoli buds”. It is tender and can be eaten stem and all. By far their Rabe is superior to any other grower.”
See the photo below to help identify Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe. You can’t miss the hot pink label! I have since found the variety at Dan’s Fresh Produce in Alameda, Whole Foods in Oakland and Berkeley Bowl. Recently, Broccoli Rabe became available at my brother’s new restaurant location at Rockwall Winery, “Scolari’s At The Point.” They now offer dinners to go after 3:00 p.m. Every day you can pick up a whole roasted chicken (sugar free brine), a side of broccoli rabe and a Cindy’s salad. All of which fit in to an Ideal Protein/Paleo legal meal plan.