Going Green ~ Italian Style

By on July 16, 2011

By Erica Galindo –

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 may claim that Rapini is the same thing, but trust me, the flavor is very different.

Twenty years ago, my Italian grandmother-in-law, Maria Balducci got me hooked on this unusual bitter green. 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 Parmesan 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.

snapper with broccoli babe

Miniature Red Snapper Rounds with Broccoli Rabe & Beurre Blanc Sauce

Red Snapper Medallions with Broccoli Rabe and Beurre Blanc
Recipe by Erica Galindo

Snapper Fish

Fresh Red Snapper

Ingredients:
For Red Snapper:
4(8-ounce) skin-off red snapper fillets, cut into twelve 2 1/2”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

broccoli rabe

Fresh Broccoli Rabe

For Broccoli 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
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 lemons, freshly squeezed
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For Beurre Blanc Sauce:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 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

Preparation:
1. Make the Beurre Blanc. In a heavy saucepan, combine vinegar, lemon juice, shallots, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to about1 1/2 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.

2. Prep the Broccoli 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 broccoli rabe, salt and pepper. Flip and stir the broccoli rabe so that all the leaves are coated with the oil. Cover and cook for 2minutes. 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.

3. 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, with out turning. Carefully flip onto other side and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

4. Assemble. Divide broccoli rabe between 4 plates, creating three 2 1/2” 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.

For more recipes, cooking tips or menu ideas, contact Erica at: www.SonomaChristianHome.com, http://facebook.com/sonomachristianhome.

About Erica Galindo

Erica Galindo is a Chef, Writer and Stylist. A native of South Florida and veteran Manhattanite, Erica now lives in the beautiful wine country in Sonoma, California with her husband David and son Jack. She has worked as an editor and feature writer for various national and regional publications including: Woman's Day, Country, Ocean Drive, The South Florida Business Journal and TheChurchReport.com. Erica’s passion for food, faith and family has inspired her to create a new online magazine - www.SonomaChristianHome.com.

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Going Green ~ Italian Style