Broccoli raab

100_3940 smOne of my favourite spring vegetables is broccoli raab. Not so much because it is the best vegetable, but because it produces so early, before any of the other brassicas are ready.

Broccoli raab looks like mini-broccoli, though it is more closely related to turnip than to broccoli. Broccoli raab is eaten “lock, stock and barrel”—leaves, stem and flower buds. As one of the earliest spring vegetables at our house, it gets used in everything from stir fry to pasta to pizza to gratins.

It is more bitter and pungent than broccoli (more like turnip greens), and a little goes a long way in a dish. I plant just a small amount of broccoli raab, and by the time the other brassicas are producing, it has bolted and is ready to pull out. A perfect little filler crop that adds kick to springtime meals!

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